Moray Flooding Schemes Can’t be delivered – admits Senior Civil Servant
Budget plans for Moray flooding schemes are in tatters following a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s environment and rural affairs committee when a senior civil servant agreed it would be hard for Moray Council to ever find the money to fund their programme given the SNP government’s scrapping of the current grant arrangements.
The revelation came during detailed questioning of the new policy by north Labour MSP, Peter Peacock.
Mr Peacock set out at the Committee that under the new arrangements agreed by Richard Lochhead the Council would now potentially have to find all the funding for the various flooding schemes itself and, given the scale of the funding required,
Peter Peacock asked Scotland’s director in charge of flooding whether he shared his view that it would be hard to believe Moray Council could ever do that.
The Civil Servant responded by saying "I would agree".
Peter Peacock said: "This is an astonishing situation.
"How on earth could Richard Lochhead, the Moray MSP, agree to a new policy on flood relief funding which leaves Moray in an impossible situation – all in order to get other councils in Scotland to agree to a council tax freeze."
Mr Peacock who was in Elgin this week to meet flooding officials has vowed to get to the bottom of the financial crisis Moray is facing.
He is demanding answers from the Scottish Government and has tabled a list of questions on how the government’s budget can possibly meet the needs of the people of Moray.
He said: "Firstly the budget available to local authorities is frozen.
"As more areas of Scotland witness flooding problems this is scandalous and will lead to schemes not being constructed.
"As the flooding money is no longer ring fenced Moray will be forced to choose between its alleviation schemes and other vital services like schools, social care and leisure services.
"Secondly, the inadequate level of grant funding will be distributed to all councils irrespective of whether they have severe flooding problems.
"Moray will lose out heavily.
"On a fair share basis Moray will receive around £2 million over the next three years but would have received around £120 million.
"Thirdly, the council tax freeze means that the council can not plug every gap in funding via this route."
The Labour MSP says these three actions will have disastrous consequences for Moray.
He is calling on the minority SNP government to recognise the dire consequences for Moray and for it to change its mind.
Mr Peacock added: "Flooding causes utter devastation to households and businesses alike and the SNP government mustn’t forget the people of Moray.
"I will be pursuing this issue with Richard Lochhead when he comes to the Committee in a couple of week’s time to ensure Moray people get the support they need."
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