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Council 'to save up to £60m by March 2022'

Aberdeenshire Council
Aberdeenshire Council

Aberdeenshire Council is giving itself until March 2022 to save up to £60m because of the impact of Covid-19 on budget plans.

The authority said that, in the first quarter of this financial year alone, it is predicting a loss in income of £8.5m and increased costs.

The shortfall could reach more than £30m by the end of the financial year.

Council leader Jim Gifford said it was "grim reading". Work to develop a new medium term financial strategy is under way.

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Aberdeenshire Council calls for more resources for education

Drivetime with Fiona Stalker

BBC Radio Scotland

The leader of Aberdeenshire Council has warned about the huge costs related to getting children back into school.

Cllr Jim Gifford predicts the extra costs will total £5-10m, which the local authority does not have he says.

He tells Drivetime the council is already likely to spend £30m more than it has a budget for before the extra education costs.

He says if the government want councils to create more space for teaching, they will need to provide extra resource.

Transport will also be an extra expense.

Cllr Gifford says this figure is not currently known, but with social distancing measures in place one coach will only be able to carry 8-12 pupils. Some schools in the rural region usually have 80% of pupils commuting by bus.

Readying Aberdeenshire schools 'could cost £10m'

Distancing in school
Getty Images

Readying Aberdeenshire's schools for reopening under social distancing rules could cost up to £10m, the council leader has said.

The authority is currently working up plans for how to manage the job of educating children at more than 170 schools.

Its blended learning proposals have seen some parents told their children could be in school for less than a third of the time.

Council leader Jim Gifford said even a slight relaxation of distancing rules would be a major help in allowing pupils more time in school.

Petition launched amid business distance concern

Man in street
Reuters

A petition has been launched in Peterhead amid fears that plans for shoppers to socially distance in town centres could be detrimental to retailers.

Aberdeenshire is following other local authorities around Scotland by pedestrianising streets and widening pavements in preparation for the country easing out of lockdown.

The petition is from some businesses in Peterhead who say the measures will make it too hard for customers to get to them. Aberdeenshire Council says the temporary measures are designed to help protect public health

Meanwhile, Stonehaven Business Association is urging businesses there to get in touch with any concerns.

Harbour blockade threat over fish export dispute

David Shanks

BBC Scotland reporter

Peterhead Harbour
BBC

Scottish fishermen could block access to Peterhead Harbour in a dispute over exports to France.

It is over claims of French supermarkets stopping buying some Scottish fish.

Skippers in Peterhead have said they could take action themselves if a political resolution is not found, in the midst of what has been described as a "testing and trying time" for the sector during the coronavirus pandemic.

Both the Scottish and UK governments said they were in discussions with the Scottish fishing sector and their French counterparts.

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Joe anything but average with 3D face shields work

An Aberdeenshire man has used fundraising to make face shields for frontline workers in his local community.

Joe Skinner, from Peterhead, has been using 3D printers to produce hundreds of frames, attaching them to clear A4 plastic sheets to offer some protection from coronavirus.

So far health centres and care homes have already taken up the offer via the Protecting Essential Workers in the North East page on Facebook.

Mr Skinner said he got the idea from social media after hearing of the difficulty some have had in getting hold of protective equipment.

3D face shield work
Protecting Essential Workers in the North East

Helicopter tragedy remembered remotely

Ken Banks

BBC Scotland North East and Northern Isles reporter

An annual act of remembrance for a North Sea helicopter crash in which 16 men died has been offered online.

All 14 passengers and two crew lost their lives on 1 April 2009 when the Super Puma came down off Peterhead.

Relatives, friends and colleagues normally gather at a memorial in Johnston Gardens in Aberdeen to remember those lost.

They were unable to this year due to coronavirus measures, so industry chaplain Rev Gordon Craig has provided a recorded act of remembrance online at https://youtu.be/e6ZXS0hXAnE

Twelve of the victims came from Scotland - eight of them from the north-east.

All 16 helicopter crash victims
BBC
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Stonehaven Flood Protection Scheme work halted

Aberdeenshire Council has announced that work on the Stonehaven Flood Protection Scheme will be halted due to coronavirus guidelines.

A review took place on the site to make sure it was secure and all necessary flood protection measures were in place before the decision was taken.

The council’s principal engineer Rachel Kennedy said: “Whilst we would like to see the scheme progress, we fully accept that the safety of residents in Stonehaven as well as those working to protect the local community must come first.”

A number has been set up for residents to report any emergencies during this time on 07867 193124. Questions can also be emailed to stonehaven.community@mclh.co.uk.

Stonehaven floods
PA Media