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Aberdeen City Council to hold more £120m cutback talks

City Garden protest
Image caption Protests against the City Garden project were held at the Town House

Aberdeen councillors have agreed to hold further discussions on a proposed business plan to cut £120m over the next five years.

It came as the SNP's Callum McCaig was installed as the authority's leader.

The business plan has been deferred until the next full council meeting, which was welcomed by unions.

Mr McCaig becomes the UK's second youngest council leader at 26, with former leader and Lib Dem John Stewart now depute leader.

Meanwhile, a new independent group has been formed on Aberdeen City Council which includes two Conservative members.

Alan Milne and Jim Farquharson are joining forces with Marie Boulton who was the authority's sole independent councillor.

They are calling themselves the Independent Alliance Group.

Former leader John Stewart announced last week he was stepping down after the SNP became the biggest party on the authority.

Image caption Callum McCaig said Aberdeen still faced major budget cuts

The Lib Dems were, until recently, the largest group in the council.

But in the wake of two recent by-elections - both won by the SNP - the Nationalists are now the largest grouping with 15 seats, compared with the Lib Dems' 13.

Also being discussed at Wednesday's council meeting was a motion calling for a referendum on Union Terrace Gardens.

The SNP's Kevin Stewart wants the citizens of the city to be given a final say on the controversial plans to redevelop the Victorian sunken gardens.

An international design competition for the City Garden project received 55 submissions which are now being short listed.

Protesters against the redevelopment of the site demonstrated outside the Town House ahead of the meeting.

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