Published: 25/02/2014 15:26 - Updated: 25/02/2014 15:32

Decision costs Moray £4.3 million

AN "appalling" decision taken by Cosla leaders has robbed Moray of £4.3 million of Scottish Government funding.

The leaders of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities decided after a vote last September on how to distribute funding for 2015/16 between local councils across the country.

Their final decision went against the advice of Cosla finance officers and Scottish Government to re-run the distribution formula, based on need, which would have given Moray an allocation of £154 million.

Instead, Moray is set to suffer a 2.78 per cent cut – the biggest penalty in the country – because a move against the recommendation meant there would be no change to individual council allocations in 2015/16.

Cosla’s Moray group leader, councillor Allan Wright, blasted last year’s decision, and is now seeking ways to have it revisited.

He said he welcomed the fact that the Cosla presidential team has agreed to have the issue on the agenda for the leaders meeting this Friday in Edinburgh.

"I am certain that very few council leaders were aware of the scale of change that was involved and I’m among those who welcome the fact that finance secretary John Swinney published the figures last Friday.

"It was an appalling decision in September with Labour leaders from the central belt whipping all their members to vote for no change even although half of them would benefit from a revised distribution.

Councillor Wright said Glasgow would have lost £15.5m (1.3%) from an allocation of more than £1 billion and that may have been the driver of the Labour move.

"The decision in September was based on no facts and figures. Those have now been provided by Mr Swinney and they illustrate that revising the distribution to take account of need and the 2011 census would have given 20 councils extra money.

"Aberdeen City would have gained £7.3m although the Labour finance chairman voted with his Cosla Labour colleagues. Aberdeenshire’s leader voted for the revision which would have gained £6m. Revision would cost Highland Council £1m. Orkney would gain but Shetland and Western Isles would both lose.

"I can only hope that sense prevails on Friday and Moray can get its rightful share of government allocation in 2015/16."

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