THE leader of Moray's Conservatives has expressed the hope that yesterday's meeting with Scotland's finance minister will be the start of a "positive working relationship".
A cross-party group of councillors travelled to Edinburgh yesterday for a personal audience with Derek Mackay.
The meeting, which was organised by MSP Richard Lochhead, was arranged to discuss Moray's finances.
Speaking afterwards, councillor Tim Eagle (Buckie/Conservative) said: "The cabinet secretary was welcoming and happy to listen.
"The specific examples of non-domestic rates, council tax and the funding mechanism for councils were discussed around the table.
"I am hopeful the meeting will act as a foundation for a positive working relationship with the Scottish Government where we can identify and find solutions to the problems the council faces.
"No-one in Moray wants to face more budget cuts and yesterday marked a step forward in what will be a triangle of discussions between Moray Council, the Scottish Government and the confederation of Scottish Local authorities to ensure we can get Moray on a stable financial footing."
"My Conservative colleagues and I are committed to doing what it takes to ensure Moray can provide the services the public expects.
"We recognise this won't always be easy but we continue to work hard in the background to find solutions."