All Change At The Town House

There was a ‘changing of the guard’ at the Town House yesterday (18 May 2022) following agreement between the Scottish Liberal Democrat and SNP councillors to form a partnership for five years to run Aberdeen City Council. This happened at the first meeting of the new Council following recent elections which saw both group gain one seat each, resulting in a majority within the chamber.

The city council has required coalitions since 2003 following the introduction of the Single Transferrable Vote system whereby you rank council candidates in order of preference. From the 1950s to 2003, the city was run by a succession of Labour majorities. However, in 2003, the Liberal Democrats ended Labour dominance. From 2003 to 2007, the Council was run by a coalition of 20 Liberal Democrats and 3 Conservatives. From 2007 to 2012, there was a Liberal Democrat / SNP coalition. From 2012 to 2022, a Labour / Conservative / Independent coalition was in charge of the city council.

Over the past two weeks the different groups have had discussions with each other to identify whether or not a deal could be struck to run the city. The 11 Labour councillors confirmed that they would not enter into a formal coalition with any other political group but they were willing to work with other groups as long as those groups were prepared to support and action the Labour manifesto. This effectively made it impossible for either Labour (with 11 councillors) or the Conservatives (with 8 councillors) to reach the required minimum of 23 councillors needed to run the city. Talks continued between the SNP and Liberal Democrat groups to establish whether or not they could agree a way forward.

Liberal Democrat member for Kingswells, Sheddocksley & Summerhill, Steve Delaney said, “Our starting point was always going to be our manifesto. We were elected on what we said we would deliver and, unless we could bring forward the bulk of what was in our manifesto we would been letting down those who had put their trust in us. In the end we came up with a policy statement which does exactly that”.

Steve, continued, “In addition to manifesto commitments I agreed to a partnership with the SNP to deliver stability for the city over the next five years. There were no other alternatives available for running the city council. At the Council meeting yesterday the Conservatives and Labour confirmed they would not revive their decade long coalition.

“It’s worth stating emphatically that I do not support Scottish independence. My three Liberal Democrat colleagues on the council share that view. The Scottish Liberal Democrats oppose independence and an independence referendum. Absolutely none of this has changed, nor will it”.

“This is a local solution for local circumstances. We have concluded an agreement with SNP councillors which focuses on investing in our crumbling infrastructure and taking forward improvements to services which are within the remit of the council. Although our policy statement is lengthy and not everything can be progressed from day one, our top priorities will be education, housing, infrastructure and the environment. Given that our position on the future of the United Kingdom is diametrically opposed to that of the SNP, both groups have agreed to disagree on this issue and to work together on maintaining and improving our local services in Aberdeen”.

Some key Liberal Democrat priorities for the city which will be taken forward include

  • abolishing the Brown Bin charge;
  • more curriculum choices in schools;
  • improving music education;
  • a new £1million road safety fund;
  • Resurfacing at least 40km of roads and 40km of pavements each year so that by 2032 at least 80% of our roads and pavements are in good condition.
  • investment in green transport – walking and cycling
  • campaigning to reverse underfunding of our city
  • addressing the climate change emergency and moving the city towards a sustainable net zero position.

Steve concluded, “After ten years of the Labour, Conservative and Independent coalition, Aberdeen voted for change. We could have stood on the sidelines and made plenty of noise or we could step up, take responsibility and deliver on the promises we made to those who put their trust in us.

“We didn’t like the terms administration – which nobody understands – or coalition, so instead we are describing ourselves as a partnership. The SNP are indeed the larger of the two groups but the deal agreed with them takes us forward as partners in the running of the city.

“Our leader Ian Yuill becomes co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, Martin Greig becomes Convenor of the Education Committee, our new member Desmond Bouse is Vice-Convenor of Planning. I am Vice-Convenor of the Licensing Committee and Depute Provost”.


Cllr Ian Yuill, Group Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrat Group on Aberdeen City Council and Cllr Alex Nicoll, Group Leader of the SNP Group on Aberdeen City Council announced that their parties have agreed to lead Aberdeen City Council from today’s (18 May 2022) Statutory Council Meeting.

At the Local Government elections, 5 May, the Scottish Liberal Democrats increased their number of seats from 3 to 4 Councillors. The SNP won 20 seats, increasing from 19, on Aberdeen City Council.

Commenting on the announcement,

Cllr Ian Yuill:
“Aberdeen and Aberdeen City Council faces major challenges in the years ahead. The Liberal Democrats are committed to working in this Partnership to deliver for Aberdeen’s citizens. We will work to provide the best possible education in modern buildings, to help citizens through the cost of living crisis, improve transport and roads, and work to meet global environmental challenges.”

Cllr Alex Nicoll said:
“People in Aberdeen have voted for leadership that will work for them. Our Partnership will aim to tackle the issues that are important to Aberdonians. We will deliver the services that people deserve from their Council, help give children the best start in life and work to combat poverty. We will also play our part in delivering a socially and economically just transition away from oil and gas, striving to make our city the Net Zero capital of Europe.”

EU Settlement Scheme Support In Aberdeen

Photo by Lāsma Artmane on Unsplash

Citizens’ Rights Project provides information, advice and support for EU citizens in Scotland by connecting groups and organisations working within European communities. They are a group of third sector workers, researchers, legal experts and volunteers. You can find more about their core team here

Citizens Rights Project not only establishes a forum for European communities to voice their concerns, but also provides a platform for collective action to drive positive social change. 

Their aim is to assist EU nationals in accessing information and advice on citizens’ rights, and to encourage and facilitate their contacts with public sector and government organisations. They want to inform EU nationals about opportunities available to them in Scotland, but also to promote awareness of their concerns and needs, especially those raised by Brexit. 

Although the deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme has passed, they are still supporting many EU citizens with matters related to the scheme. Some approach the project because they don’t understand how their new migration status work, others because they are facing issues when proving, updating or accessing their status.

Many others get in touch because they are still waiting for the outcome of their applications. They also have clients who should have applied but haven’t done yet, and need to submit a late application.

Citizen Rights Project have organised  a FREE multilingual support clinics in Aberdeen to provide advice, information and help to EU citizens and their family members with their EU Settlement Scheme applications.

The clinics will take place on Turning Point Scotland, 27 Holburn Street, Aberdeen, Ab10 6BS, on the following dates

  • Saturday, 14th of May | 10.00 am to 15.00 pm
  • Saturday, 18th of June | 10.00 am to 15.00 pm
  • Saturday, 16th  of July  | 10.00 am to 15.00 pm

You can also find more information  in  this Facebook event.

Liberal Democrats Launch City Election Manifesto

Aberdeen Liberal Democrats have launched their manifesto – “Putting the Sparkle Back in the Granite City” – for the 5th May Council elections.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Councillor Ian Yuill said, “Aberdeen is a city with a long and proud heritage, a city with a record of valuing education, a city with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a city which embraces links across Europe and around the world.

“Sadly, over the last ten years the City Council has been led by a coalition of Conservative, Labour and Independent councillors which has more than doubled the Council’s non-housing capital debt to over £1,068 million pounds. This is the equivalent of £4,664 for every adult and child in Aberdeen. The Conservative, Labour and Independent councillors have pursued large vanity projects rather than focussing on providing the key services upon which people depend.

“Aberdeen’s most valued asset is its citizens, and the Liberal Democrats are committed to improving life chances and the quality of life for all. Our 2022 election manifesto focuses on delivering that.

“The Liberal Democrats are committed to putting the sparkle back into the granite city.”

Key points in the Liberal Democrats’ plans for Aberdeen and the City Council include:

✅ Taking action to improve educational opportunities for Aberdeen’s young people.

✅ Transforming the quality of our city’s environment through positive green policies, including planting one million trees over the next ten years.

✅ Improving transport within our city, including £40 million of investment over five years in repairing and resurfacing Aberdeen’s crumbling roads and pavements.

✅ Making streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

✅ Developing Aberdeen’s economy in a genuine partnership with the private sector, third sector and residents.

✅ Revitalising our city centre.

✅ Delivering, with partners, over the next ten years, thousands of homes for social rent.

Councillor Martin Greig, Depute Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, added, “Education is the key investment for our city’s future. Aberdeen’s children and young people deserve the best possible education so they can meet the challenges of the twenty first century. The Liberal Democrats will focus on providing high quality education in good quality school buildings.”

Liberal Democrat Housing and Transport Spokesperson Councillor Steve Delaney added, “There are over 5,000 people on Aberdeen’s council house waiting list. The Liberal Democrats want to eliminate that waiting list by building, with partners, 5,000 homes for social rent over the next ten years. Most of those 5,000 homes will be council houses.”

Steve Delaney added, “The Liberal Democrats also want to tackle the terrible state of many roads and pavements in Aberdeen. Our manifesto includes a plan to invest in resurfacing and properly repairing roads and pavements.”

Ian Yuill concluded, “After the Council election on 5th May, Aberdeen’s Liberal Democrat councillors will work to deliver the best possible services, to strengthen our economy and to make Aberdeen an even better place to live, do business, work, be educated and enjoy life.”

ACC Festive Hours & Emergency Contacts

All online council services will continue to be available throughout so can continue to make payments, report issues, make applications and renew library loans.

The council will make use of social media to provide urgent news and service updates. They will not be monitoring social media channels from 24 December to 5 January, so if you need to get in touch, please use the contact details below.

Customer Contact Centre – 03000 200 292

This number will be staffed 24 hours a day from 25th December to 4th January for genuine emergencies only. Please note they will not deal with non-emergencies (other than Housing Repairs on 29th, 30th, 31st, 3rd, 4th from 9am-5pm).

There may be long waits to get through so please don’t call unless it is an emergency, otherwise you may be preventing genuine emergency calls from getting through.

Other Useful Numbers

Antisocial Behaviour (9am-4am) – 0800 0510 434
Homelessness (24 hour) – 0800 9176 379
Social Work (first point of contact, 24 hour) – 0800 7315 520
Support with domestic abuse (24 hour) – 0800 027 123 or 999 in an emergency
Dangerous building call-out (24 hour) – 07860 914726

Covid Support Line – 0800 0304 713

The Council has a free support line for people who are struggling and cannot find support through their dedicated Coronavirus (Covid-19) webpages or existing networks.

You can contact this number throughout the festive period for welfare advice and emotional support, including what to do if you are struggling to get food.

This is not a medical helpline. If you require medical assistance you should contact NHS 24 on 111.

You can make an online application at any time for a crisis grant and self isolation grant. Alternatively, you can call the Support Line for assistance making an application on the following days:

Wednesday 29 December – 9am to 4pm
Thursday 30 December – 9am to 3pm

The above is a summary of information residents are most likely to need, should they encounter an emergency situation during the festive period. Otherwise, the fuller information can be found on Aberdeen City Council’s Website.

Where Does Steve Stand On Union Street Pedestrianisation?

Aberdeen’s ruling Labour and Conservative councillors have pressed ahead with the next phase of their City Centre Masterplan in which they intend to commit up to £150m of public borrowing to deliver on their wish list.

The plans went before the City Growth & Resources Committee on 12th November 2012, rather than being tabled to all 45 councillors at a full council meeting as would be the norm for proposals of this magnitude.

Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney gives his views on the handling of this major proposal and, in particular, with respect to the pedestrianisation of Union Street from Bridge Street to Market Street which is effectively being imposed rather than returning to its former (fully open) state and then going through due process to allow everyone to have their say.

Steve said, “Decisions of this magnitude need to be taken by all councillors. That’s what used to happen at full council meetings, but instead, myself and indeed the majority of councillors of all parties were excluded from participating in this debate and from representing their constituents. Having said that, I value and fully support the contributions made to this debate by Liberal Democrat Group Leader Ian Yuill in which he conveyed the agreed position of Aberdeen’s Liberal Democrat councillors.”

“In an ideal word the main shopping section of Union Street should be pedestrianised as we have seen done elsewhere. The main issue is that Aberdeen’s streets were not built in a grid-like fashion as was the case in Glasgow, which makes it difficult to divert traffic easily and creates significant hold ups for all, but in particular, public transport users, as we move towards a carbon neutral economy. In addition we need our city centre to be accessible to all our citizens and there is no possibility of maintaining accessibility to this area for disabled citizens, especially those with mobility issues, if we close it off to all traffic”.

“The closure of Union Street from Union Terrace to Market Street was a temporary measure which was needed on public health grounds and it should now be removed. These plans have been pushed through without full council scrutiny and without giving adequate time for consultation with the Disability Equity Partnership, many of whose users will be unable to access this space. In addition, the inconvenience caused to regular bus users who visit the city centre for reasons other than employment, is likely to make them think twice about future visits to our city centre once this pedestrianisation goes ahead. This is something that nobody would wish to see happen”.

“Splashing the cash to the tune of £150 million without the fullest consultation and maximum scrutiny just shouldn’t be happening. Not only does it burden the repayment of this debt on future generations, it also severely restricts the financial capacity of future councils to do what’s in the best interests of our city. And, though I wish Aberdeen Football Club well, I can see no circumstances under which council tax payers’ money should be used to build a football stadium. Public money must not be used to fund private businesses, no matter what business that is.”

“I remain disgusted by the manner in which Aberdeen’s Labour and Conservative councillors have mishandled a set of proposals which could and should have involved everyone, both within the chamber and in every home across the city. If the city is to invest this much money in its future, it needs to take its citizens with it.”

City Centre/Beach Masterplan & Union Street Pedestrianisation Pushed Through By Just Four Councillors

Commenting on today’s (12th November) decisions about the future of Aberdeen’s city centre and beach, Councillor Ian Yuill, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Aberdeen City Council, said, “The decisions before the Committee were the most important the Council has faced since I was first elected over 27 years ago. They will affect our city for decades to come. Yet the vast majority of councillors had no say – these proposals were voted for by just four councillors and only passed on the Convener’s casting vote.  

“Its shameful that the Conservative and Labour councillors proceeded to make this decision after hearing a plea from a representative of the Chair and Vice Chair of Aberdeen’s Disability Equity Partnership for more time to be allowed for people to be consulted about the proposals.

Turning to the proposals for Aberdeen Beach, Ian Yuill said, “The Liberal Democrats remain totally opposed to spending any council funds on building a stadium for Aberdeen FC. We wish Aberdeen FC well but do not believe public money should be used to build a stadium at the Beach for the football club.

In relation to the temporary “Spaces for People” changes in the city centre, Ian Yuill said, “When these changes were introduced, people were told they were a temporary response to the pandemic emergency. Despite that assurance, the Conservative and Labour councillors voted to keep the central part of Union Street closed to all vehicles – including buses. The Liberal Democrats believe that the City Council should have kept its word, removed all the Spaces for People changes and reopened the central part of Union Street to all traffic.”

What Does Phase 2 Of Easing The Lockdown Really Mean?

Image by Graham Hobster from Pixabay 

As we move into phase 2 of the lockdown easing there are a number of changes to the list of activities which are now considered to be safe as long as appropriate social distancing is observed.

With regard to the services provided by Aberdeen City Council and other local service providers which had been either suspended or reduced, some of these are already starting to return to normal but others may take much longer.

Here’s a brief summary of what you need to know with regard to the main changes as they affect us in an everyday context.

Frequency of recycling collections

No change at present and no timeframe has yet been given for the return to normal service in Aberdeen. Due to the social distancing requirements, it is likely the reduced collections will continue for some time

Grass Cutting

This has resumed but it will take time to get round the whole city. More information can be found here.

Roads & Construction Sites

Non-emergency repairs resumed a couple of weeks ago. Road and footway resurfacing and construction sites are putting in place preparations to re-start and we will see a phased return starting from 22 June onwards.

Public Transport

Buses remain on a much reduced timetable and people are advised not to use public transport unless absolutely necessary. More frequent services are likely to resume in coming weeks but buses will have restrictions on the number of passengers they can take due to social distancing requirements. From 22 June it becomes an offence for passengers in buses, taxis, private hire cars and other modes of public transport not to wear face coverings.

Sport & Leisure

Non-contact sport such as golf and tennis are now permitted but gyms remain closed in the meantime. Numbers participating will be limited. Contact Sports will not be possible until the later stages of the lockdown easing. More information can be found at Sport Aberdeen.

Childrens play area will re-open on 29 June. Parks are already open. However, public toilets remain closed and no decision has yet been taken on their re-opening.


The restrictions on moving house will be relaxed from 29 June so it will now be possible for buyers and sellers to move from that date. Council and Housing Association allocations, other than just homeless applications, will also be able to resume.

What’s Opening Up & What’s Not?

All types of retail units will be permitted to re-open from 29 June but only if they have put in place social distancing measures within the premises and outwith, in order to accommodate safe queueing.

Some opticians are to re-open from 29 June primarily for urgent appointment with the fuller range of services being phased in over the coming weeks. Dental surgeries can treat urgent cases from 22 June.

The registry office will reopen from 29 June, initially for essential services only but resuming full services at a later date.

Hairdressers will remain closed until at least 9th July, possibly later. There will be an announcement regarding pubs and restaurants on 2 July.

Council buildings currently remain closed but a review is currently underway to determine how best to open these in a manner which is safe for both customers and staff.

Fuller information relating to phase two of relaxing the lockdown can be found here.