SNP Comment on Approval of Aberdeenshire Audit Report

>> 27 September 2012

Speaking following today's Aberdeenshire Council meeting, which approved an auditor's report which made criticisms of the council's £25m underspend, SNP Shadow Council Leader Hamish Vernal said:

"I'm pleased that councillors from all sides have accepted the conclusions of this report. Hopefully, this means we'll hear no more disingenuous statements from the 'Alliance' administration about their underspend being a good thing arising thanks to their sound financial stewardship.

"The consequences of this underspend have been a series of cuts to services which have been tougher and deeper than they needed to be. Regrettably, another unintended consequence of the underspend has been to hole below the waterline what was previously a compelling case for improving Aberdeenshire's share of central government revenue funding.

"The Aberdeenshire 'Fairshare' campaign, if not quite dead in the water, is now in desperate need of resuscitation, for which the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have only themselves to blame."

Page 24 of the auditor's report states of the underspend: “[Budget] Variances were reported to the Policy and Resources Committee throughout the year, although moved from a projected underspend of £10.719 million at 30 January 2012 as reported to the committee in April 2012, to a final underspend of £20.236 million. Management has recognised that they should have been aware of this likely result earlier in the year, and have undertaken additional work in order to prevent a similar situation occurring in the future.”

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