NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen councillor warns authorities may have to merge

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Image caption Cost savings are being sought in the public spending squeeze

A senior Aberdeen councillor has predicted local authorities may have to merge as one way of making cost savings in the public spending squeeze.

Kevin Stewart - the city's deputy leader and head of the SNP group on the authority - is raising the issue in a motion to be debated next week.

He said there should be no "sacred cows" in the drive to protect services.

The Scottish government earlier ruled out any mergers of local authorities during this parliament.

Aberdeen City Council is trying to make about £120m of savings over the next five years.

Earlier this week, Grampian's chief fire officer said a prediction that the north east brigade would merge with Tayside was premature.

The new Lothian and Borders fire chief, Jimmy Campbell, had said a merger of the country's fire and rescue services was "inevitable" in the face of public sector cuts.

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