Calls were yesterday made for the council to “come clean” over whether any sports facilities in the city will close as a result of major funding cuts.
The local authority initially suggested slashing Sport Aberdeen’s budget by more than £2 million as part of its budget proposals to plug the funding gap for 2019-20.
However, the plans were then thrown out, with city council co-leader Douglas Lumsden saying it would have “undoubtedly” led to the “closure of vital facilities”.
The arms-length organisation – which operates nine gyms, six swimming pools, four golf courses, an ice rink, a tennis centre and other facilities throughout the city – was still hit with a 10% cut to its council funding, a reduction of £550,000.
The SNP has now called on administration leaders to “come clean” on what the real-world impacts could be on the back of the funding cuts.
SNP group leader Councillor Stephen Flynn said: “Slashing Sport Aberdeen’s budget by such a huge amount will undoubtedly impact upon the key services they are able to provide in our communities.
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“The reality is that the administration could have protected their funding but they instead opted to hammer sport and leisure in the city, throwing Sport Aberdeen right in the deep end.
“The SNP did not propose a single cut to the budget of Sport Aberdeen, as these are incredibly important community facilities that undoubtedly improve the health and well-being of residents across the city.
“The Tories and their Labour cheerleaders now need to come clean and clarify what the impact of their savage budget will be – which facilities will be closing on their watch?”
However, city council co-leader Jenny Laing stressed that it was up to the charity to decide how to organise sports services in the city.
She said: “The administration values Sport Aberdeen, and that is why over the last seven years we have provided them with funding in excess of £40 million.
“Whilst it is obviously up to Sport Aberdeen to manage their own budget, we have a service-level agreement in place linked to the Aberdeen Community Planning Partnership’s local outcome development plan to improve the health and wellbeing of residents right across the city, as well as protecting community facilities.
“At the budget meeting, Aberdeen City Council allocated a further £5.476 million to Sport Aberdeen for the delivery of sport services in the city.”
Sport Aberdeen did not want to comment.