Aberdeen City Council is the second most in-debt per resident in Scotland, according to new data.
An analysis of data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities from the BBC, has studied the top 10 council areas in the UK with the highest average debt per resident.
And Aberdeen sits seventh on the UK list, but its figures are the second-worst in Scotland.
The Granite City has, on average, £4,825 debt per resident, just £20 better off the Scotland's most in-debt council area per resident, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
The city had been forced to find nearly £47million in savings during the budget meeting last year, while more cuts await the cash-strapped authority.
Controversial decisions were made to shut six local libraries and a swimming pool, with the latter being reversed after a legal challenge was launched.
An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: “As highlighted in the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s own Investment Tracker, it is vital to ensure our ‘focus must remain on maximising this potential and delivering new opportunities to the region’ of which Aberdeen City Council plays a part by continue to invest in infrastructure and other major projects.
“These projects, which were highlighted in the Investment Tracker and all enjoy the support of AGCC, include:
- Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub which will help position the region as a global leader in hydrogen production and distribution
- A new market on Union Street
- City Centre and Beach Masterplan including Streetscape Improvements to Union Street and new playpark facilities for the beach area
- Union Terrace Gardens which has reopened to the public
- Bucksburn Academy temporary extension
- Chapel Street Car Park refurbishment
- The new Countesswells Primary School
- Duthie Park outdoor nursery, conversion of the East Lodge into innovative outdoor learning setting for pre-school children
- Berryden Corridor Improvement Project
- TECA, which is Scotland’s biggest standing arena, exhibition and conference venue has been highlighted in previous Investment Trackers
“The Council continues to successfully manage its finances in a difficult operational and financial climate. In-year reporting indicates the Council will balance the budget in the year to 31 March 2024 (F&R Cttee 22 November 2023). Annually our finances are externally audited and scrutinised by Audit Scotland, the latest report was presented to the Audit Risk and Scrutiny Committee on 15 August 2023, with a clean audit opinion being provided for financial year 2022/23. Long-term borrowing is only used to facilitate the creation of long-term assets.”
They added: “Council long-term debt arises from both our Housing and General capital programmes. The CIPFA Prudential Framework requires that local authorities must demonstrate that the borrowing they undertake is affordable, prudent and sustainable. The council have due regard for this in setting budgets and our auditors are satisfied that the Councils' borrowing meets these tests."