Published: 23/12/2017 06:34 - Updated: 22/12/2017 14:56

Budget is no reprieve from 'savage cuts'


Elgin Town Hall.
Elgin Town Hall.
LAST week’s budget from the Scottish Government has not lifted the threat hanging over many council services in Moray. 


Moray Council leader George Alexander has described last week’s Scottish Government’s budget as "small comfort", stating that although it was not as bad as had been feared, it still left the authority needing to make savage cuts.

He said: "It all feels a bit like you have been sentenced to have a hundred lashes across your back. 

"Then, the morning the punishment is due to be carried out, you’re told you’ll only be getting 50 lashes. 

"You’re slightly happier than you otherwise would be, but you’re still a very long way short of delighted." 

Forres, Findochty, Elgin and Cullen town halls are among several public buildings under threat of closure as the council looks to make £6.7million of savings to balance its books. 

All the public toilets in Moray are also in the firing line, while bin collections may be reduced to just once every three weeks. 

Cullen and Deskford community council, which met on Wednesday evening, later issued a statement which said: "We understand that an offer to buy the hall has been made to the council. 

"As part of the process a public consultation will have to now take place to gauge the reaction of residents.

"A further concern is the future of the community centre and public toilets. 

"The community council has asked local councillors where they stand on this and await a reply." 

Meanwhile, a group of local musicians and music fans known as Lantern of the North have already expressed an interest in becoming involved in any takeover of Elgin Town Hall. 

The group is holding a meeting next month to gauge the level of interest across Moray. 

The council paid for an extensive £1.25million refurbishment of the town hall three years ago. 

This, it is thought, would help make the venue a viable option for what is known as a community asset transfer. 

The revamp, which lasted the best part of 12 months, included a new sound system, stage curtains and lighting controls. 

It also involved insulating the roof and completely refurbishing all of the toilet areas, with new cubicles and floor coverings fitted.

More on this story in this week's Northern Scot

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