>> 15 February 2013
Aberdeenshire Council SNP have branded the local authority's budget passed yesterday as "fifty shades of bland", and "one of the least detailed budgets ever submitted" to Shire councillors.
Their comments came after the 'Aberdeenshire Alliance' succeeded in passing their preferred budget by 37 votes to 29. However, their win came at the cost of the unity of the Independent Group within the Alliance, with Independent Fraserburgh and District Councillor Michael Watt voting to support the SNP Budget proposals. In a statement they said;
"The Alliance Proposal for dealing with the £19.5m underspend from 2013/14 was set out under just four headings which were as broad as they were shallow.
"Sadly, there was nothing in the Alliance proposals to tackle the growing crisis in care provision, or funding earmarked to make a start on improving flood defences or to kick-start economic development in our regeneration areas.
"The Rainbow Alliance has produced a budget which is fifty shades of bland and which sadly, falls far short of the aspirations which people in Aberdeenshire have for their council."
Adding his comment on yesterday's Aberdeenshire Council budget vote, SNP Shadow Council Leader Cllr Hamish Vernal said:
"While it's no surprise that the 'Aberdeenshire Alliance' had the votes to win the day, it really needs to stop complaining about the COSLA backed funding settlement for local government and instead face up to the scale of its own underspends.
"Those underspends, particularly those caused by failing to fill vacancies, are having a major impact on front line services. The SNP Group will be holding the Administration to account over the next 12 months to make sure that this budget is spent as planned and that services are not made to suffer."