The former co-leader of Aberdeen City Council will donate his local authority wage to local charities for the next year after being elected as an MSP.
Douglas Lumsden was elected to represent the north-east region at the Scottish Parliament election earlier this month.
He has already stepped down as co-leader of the council and Conservative group leader, as well as relinquishing various roles on committees.
However, Mr Lumsden plans to continue as a councillor for Airyhall, Broomhill and Garthdee, explaining that it would cost the public purse more to hold a by-election than it would for him to remain in the role until next year’s local elections.
But he has also pledged to donate his basic councillor salary – totalling around £17,500 – to a different local charity each month.
‘Easy decision’ to donate council wage
The first beneficiary will be Harlaw Academy’s HOP project, a parent-led initiative to spruce up the school grounds.
“I will continue to be a councillor for another year while also being an MSP and that’s the right thing to do rather than costing the taxpayer money for a by-election that doesn’t even fulfil a full year,” Mr Lumsden said.
“It was an easy decision to donate my councillor’s salary to charity and I didn’t think twice about it.
“Holding a by-election would cost double the amount of my salary as a councillor and it would be wrong of me to allow that to happen during a time where households are trying to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
“In Aberdeen and across the north-east, we have so many fantastic charities whose work goes unnoticed.
“The struggles of charities throughout Covid have often gone unnoticed which is why I will donate my salary to a different one each month to allow a large number to benefit from the money.
“Harlaw Parent Council is doing a fantastic job in assisting the council’s investment in the school which is why I selected them as the first charity to receive the money.”
“A by-election costs the public purse double the amount it costs for a councillor’s salary,” she said.
“It’s not a case of taking two salaries – you’re not allowed to not take one. What’s happened in the past is it is up to people what they do with it, but my intention would be to donate my councillor salary to local charities.”