A CITY councillor has been censured by the Standards Commission after she revealed confidential information that a local authority was facing a £45 million funding gap.

Marie Boulton, who leads the Independent Alliance group on Aberdeen City Council, “failed to maintain confidentiality” when she informed a community council of the budget deficit the city council was facing.

A hearing panel of the Standards Commission found that Ms Boulton had revealed the information at a public meeting of Cults, Bielside and Milltimber Community Council back in January 2019.

The Standards Commission has found that Ms Boutlon breached the code of conduct by her action.

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Ms Boulton sad the information was already in the public domain and insisted that the figures could have been arrived at by piecing together freely available information.

Mike McCormick, chairman of the hearing panel, said: “The requirement for councillors to maintain confidentiality is a fundamental requirement of the code. A failure to do can damage the reputation and integrity of a council and, further, can impede discussion and decision-making.

“It is legitimate and important for officers to be able to consult, in confidence, with elected members on a council’s finance and budget before expenditure and any savings options are finalised. This is so they can manage internal and external communications and avoid causing any undue concern or alarm to those potentially affected - in particular staff and service users.

“In this case, the panel found that Councillor Bolton failed to maintain confidentiality as required by the Code.” The £45 million figure had been included in a confidential budget pack provided to city councillors ahead of a council budget meeting on March 5, 2019 and was not yet in the public domain.

The hearing panel considered that while information that there was a budget gap was in the public domain at the time of the community council meeting, it was not satisfied the figure of £45 million was readily accessible and identifiable.

Ms Boulton said she was “extremely disappointed” by the Standards Commission decision and is set to “speak to my solicitor regarding an appeal”.