ABERDEENSHIRE COUNCIL BUDGET: PROGRESS REPORT ON DIGG AGREEMENT

JimSavege

Aberdeenshire Council Chief Executive, Jim Savege.

Council chief executive Jim Savege has reported on progress with the policies included in the ‘confidence and supply’ agreement between Aberdeenshire’s Democratic Independent and Green Group (DIGG) councillors and the Council’s ruling coalition administration. (Letter link below)

Commenting, Cllr Martin Ford said: “Good progress is being made on a number of policy priorities.”

The confidence and supply agreement of limited co-operation between DIGG councillors Martin Ford and Paul Johnston and the administration includes both general approaches and 12 specific policy priorities stipulated by the DIGG. The agreement also includes provision to seek a non-partisan, objective assessment of progress on delivering the policies included in it, by seeking an annual assessment from Aberdeenshire Council’s chief executive prior to the Council’s budget setting meeting each February. (Confidence and supply agreement attached)

It would not be possible for all the policies in the DIGG’s agreement to have been put into effect after eight months. Three of the policies, for example, relate to provisions to be included in the Council’s revenue budget, due to be agreed tomorrow (11 February).

The budget proposals to be considered by councillors tomorrow include the transfer of £250,000 to a new budget line for cycling and walking and no cut to the funding for community learning and development, as stipulated in the confidence and supply agreement. There is also a proposal to allocate £2 million to a reserve for investment in renewable energy, in line with the requirement in the confidence and supply agreement to make tackling climate change one of the Council’s overall strategic priorities. The DIGG has long advocated Council investment in renewable energy as a way of reducing the Council’s energy bills and generating income and the DIGG’s own budget proposals in previous years have included provision to increase the use of renewable energy in Council buildings.

Commenting, Cllr Paul Johnston said, “Our agreement includes some important policy gains we believe will bring real benefits to Aberdeenshire residents.”

“The correspondence with the council’s chief officer is part of our own open and transparent process. It is our belief that it should be clear and public about what is agreed.  We made no hidden arrangements last year, as we sought stability in the running of Aberdeenshire Council rather than damaging political turmoil.”
A link to the letter from Jim Savage, and to the original public agreement is below.

 

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