Aberdeen councillors claim unfair treatment over financing of AWPR

Aberdeen's ruling council administration have written to the Transport Minister, Keith Brown, claiming that the local authority are being unfairly treated, compared to other parts of Scotland.

Labour and Conservative councillors have both expressed anger over Aberdeen being asked to finance 9.5% of the estimated £653m cost of the new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route when Edinburgh and Fife Councils are contributing nothing towards the new Forth Road Crossing.

Finance convener Willie Young said on Tuesday: "Once again, the council tax payers of Aberdeen are being taken for a ride by the Scottish Government.

"When the AWPR was first agreed, the indicative cost was £275m, meaning that the council's share would have been £26m.

"As the costs have rocketed, and we are the lowest-funded local authority in Scotland, residents may rightly argue that we are, in effect, helping to pay for the Forth Road Crossing, whilst Edinburgh's council tax payers pay nothing."

His views were echoed by Fraser Forsyth, the Leader of the Conservative Party in the Granite City.

Cllr Forsyth said: "Aberdeen is once again being treated unfairly by the Scottish Government and there is a clear Central Belt bias here.

"Aberdeen City Council is the only local authority in Scotland, which pays more to the Scottish Government than it receives in grant settlement.

"The minister [Mr Brown] must address why, once again, the council tax payers of Aberdeen are being treated as a cash cow by the Scottish Government."

However, Mr Forsyth's claims drew an emphatic response from a spokesperson for Mr Brown, who told STV: "We are beginning to understand why we saw no progress on the AWPR during the years of Tory rule - and thank goodness they are not responsible for this project.

"The time for wrangling and point-scoring is surely past, because people are keen to get on with this much-needed boost to transport and to jobs and investment."

There was an equally firm rebuttal from the Scottish Government, a spokesman for whom said: "Since 2007-08, local councils' share of funding has increased, despite the UK Government's cuts to the Scottish Budget - and both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire continue to receive their fair share of this funding, which is allocated according to need.

"Moreover, claims that other local authorities have not contributed to transport infrastructure projects are quite simply wrong.

"In fact, this type of arrangement was entered into with Glasgow City Council, South Lanarkshire Council and Renfrewshire Council on the £445m M74 project."

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