MORAY'S MSP has blamed the Tories in Westmister and locally for Moray Council's financial woes.
The local authority announced on Wednesday a wide range of proposals to slash public spending, which include closing six libraries and both Keith and Lossiemouth swimming pools.
Mr Lochhead said: “I have already met with Government Ministers and the Moray Council to discuss the very serious budget situation and I will continue to take forward the concerns of my constituents and seeking action to mitigate the cuts as far as possible. I know that this is a very anxious time for communities, service users and council employees.
“The current predicament is the result of a perfect storm with UK Government cuts to the Scottish budget as part of their austerity agenda and poor local financial decisions stretching back over many years and Moray Council is now struggling to cope with the cumulative effect.
"I know the current administration who have only been in office for six months face very tough decisions given the situation they have inherited.
“The Conservative group walked away from their responsibilities and the administration six months ago after a fall out leaving colleagues to take the helm and balance the books.
"The task is now to find solutions to protect local services and facilities prior to the final budget being agreed in a few weeks time. For such a wealthy area like Moray that generates huge levels of taxes, whisky duty and renewable energy revenues we should not be in this position.”