An Aberdeen council opposition group has called on the local authority to reveal the contents of secret budget documents.
The Liberal Democrats last night said the city council should “publish as much as possible” of the budget packs presented to elected members and have written to the body’s chief executive Angela Scott.
Legal advice has been given to councillors not to reveal the details of what is expected in the budget which is due on March 5 – due to the terms of the 2016 London Stock Exchange bond which the council negotiated.
However, leading administration councillor Marie Boulton reportedly told a community council meeting that savings of nearly £45million would have to be made in the coming financial year.
It is expected that the City of London will be officially notified this week, after which the details should be released. A meeting is scheduled for council leaders to discuss potential cuts with groups funded by the local authority.
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Last night, Liberal Democrat group leader Ian Yuill said his call came after “media speculation” about the contents of the pack.
He added: “The Liberal Democrats think that – in the interests of transparency and open government – the council should, without delay, publish as much of the information in the budget pack as possible.
“In our view, they should be fully open with Aberdeen’s citizens and with council staff.”
A massive restructuring programme is underway which aims to save the authority £125million in five years.
Emphasis has been put onto moving services online and operating a voluntary redundancy programme among other methods.
Ms Scott previously warned that, without the Target Operating Model (TOM), budgets could be “salami sliced” in future.
The ruling Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and independent coalition have long blamed decreasing Scottish Government grants for the shortfalls, but have ruled out making any direct staff cuts to save cash.
This has been welcomed by unions who have warned that any compulsory redundancies would risk the level of services delivered by the council.
However, Inchgarth Community Centre manager Paul O’Connor, whose facility receives £11,000 annually, said sacking staff should be considered to protect services such as his.
Aberdeen City Council was contacted for comment on Mr Yuill’s request.