Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News



SNP Councillors have successfully pushed for more momentum in tackling the future management of Moray’s leisure facilities.

SNP Councillors argued that the Council should push ahead with discussions with outside bodies known as Arms Length External Organisations (ALEOs), which are used by many Councils to operate services and deliver organisational efficiencies.

One of the big benefits of a not for profit ALEO would be saving on Business Rates, which could be over 400,000 pounds each year.

At the start of the debate Council Administration members had looked to cut services first before starting discussions with other organisations but SNP members said that by moving forward on that straight away then other potential savings could be identified through different ways of working that might then reduce the need for service cuts in leisure.

Commenting the SNP’s Opposition Group Leader, Cllr Gary Coull said:

“Our leisure services are valued by the people of Moray and we have duty to protect them as best we can in the challenging circumstances we find ourselves.

“By pushing forward with discussions with other organisations such as neighbouring High Life Highland, who run leisure services in Highland Region, we may be able to find ways of reducing costs without the need to close facilities.

“That doesn’t mean that we won’t have to consider that as well but it may reduce the final impact if the Council takes a positive view of working with external organisations.

“Everyone understands that budgets are tough and difficult decisions need to be made but the public rightly expects that we will look at all money saving options before we get to the point of cutting services.

“That is the argument we made and I am pleased that it was accepted and a solution reached that everyone was able to back.

SNP Councillor Aaron McLean, who sits as an opposition member on the Council’s Leisure Review Board, said:

“Having been on the Council’s Leisure Review Board for over 3 years I am pleased that we have moved someway now towards the possibility of our leisure facilities being run by an ALEO, which I believe, at this point, is the best way forward these services in Moray.

“It is our job now to progress this as far a possible to give the new Council in May a decent headstart. Fundamentally the possibility of over 400,000 pounds worth of savings just by managing the service differently cannot be ignored and I believe there is scope for more efficiency beyond that.”