Spending on Council's Biennial Design Awards "Untenable" in Light of Looming Cuts to Services

>> 2 December 2022

Aberdeenshire councillors yesterday agreed to cease the biennial Aberdeenshire Architectural and Landscape Design Awards in light of cost pressures – unless outside sponsorship can be found to allow the event to proceed at no cost to the taxpayer.

SNP councillor Glen Reid (East Garioch) proposed that the event, which has run for 13 years, should stop and the funding instead be used to fund services which might otherwise be cut. He was seconded in that proposal by fellow SNP councillor Stephen Smith (Peterhead South and Cruden).

The budget for the event and the organising of the competition and judging was given as £15,000, which councillors pointed out would be better used to fund council services in light of looming budget cuts.

Commenting, Cllr Glen Reid said:

“Whilst I agree with the aims of the awards in recognising excellence and innovation in design across Aberdeenshire, we’re currently in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and it’s difficult to justify spending money on events such as this. I think it’s time to stop this and reappropriate the funds.

“If there was a way for this to proceed with no cost to the council taxpayer – such as fully virtual or through sponsorship - then I would be happy to support it continuing. However, I can’t support spending money on this when we are shortly going to be asked to make some very hard decisions on essential services.”

Cllr Stephen Smith added:

“While it’s always nice to have excellence recognised, the hard fact is this awards ceremony simply cannot continue while there are council services which need the money. There are other architectural and design awards run on a national basis and I’m sure entrants from Aberdeenshire will be more than able to compete on a Scotland-wide basis.”

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