Aberdeen’s Liberal Democrat and SNP councillors have accused Aberdeen City Council’s ruling Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and Independent coalition of running scared of democratic accountability after they rejected an opposition call to hold a council meeting in August.
SNP Group Leader Alex Nicoll said, “In March, at a meeting of the Urgent Business Committee, we agreed a range of emergency measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic including reducing decision making to a core of five Councillors and delegating decision making to officers. Whilst that made sense at the time, it soon became clear that these special arrangements were not needed. Other councils across Scotland adapted to the changing situation by holding virtual committees and council meetings.”
Liberal Democrat Group Leader Ian Yuill commented, “In May, we urged that the council reinstate the meetings of its committees and the full council. Disgracefully, the Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and Independent coalition refused to even add that to the agenda of the council’s Urgent Business Committee meeting that month.”
Alex Nicoll added, “When the Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and Independent councillors finally agreed with us that council committee meetings should restart there was a sting in the tail – they cancelled the August meeting of the council!”
Earlier this week, Councillors Yuill & Nicoll wrote to the Co-leaders of Aberdeen City Council, Councillors Jenny Laing and Douglas Lumsden, and Independent Leader Councillor Marie Boulton, calling for the reinstatement of the August meeting of the council.
Councillors Laing, Lumsden and Boulton rejected the request to hold a council meeting.
Alex Nicoll said, “ Given the last meeting of Council was in March and there is no scheduled meeting until December, there will be some nine months before all councillors have the opportunity to meet together to take decisions that require to be taken by Aberdeen City Council.
“I am at a complete loss to understand why the ruling administration feel there is no business for the full council to discuss given the recent events in the city and the calls from businesses and ordinary folk to address the issues affecting us all during these most difficult times.”
Ian Yuill added, “This has nothing to do with party politics and everything to do with accountability. Aberdeen’s citizens expect all their councillors to be meeting to discuss the major issues affecting our city, not least the impact of the current local lockdown on individuals and businesses across Aberdeen. The ruling coalition‘s refusal to agree to hold a council meeting is an abandonment of their responsibility. They are clearly running scare of democratic accountability.”