Left with no voice
It appears from recent budget statements issued by Labour that all the pressures on the councils finances are as a result of decisions taken by all the nasty people on COSLA and in the Scottish Government. The facts show otherwise.
Only £3.5million of this year’s cuts package of £20million arise from changes in the allocation of funding to local government. And while South Lanarkshire has lost out through the new system, it is mainly other Labour controlled councils who have gained.
So when South Lanarkshire spat out the dummy and resigned from COSLA it was really other comrades in the Labour Party they were taking the huff with.
However it seems strange that in a statement on the council’s future budget pressures, Labour make no mention of the annual PFI charges of £35million which is a real noose around the council’s neck.
No mention either of how this cash strapped council can find the estimated tens of millions of pounds from ‘reserves’ to meet equal pay settlements, the cost of which was greatly increased by Labour’s prolonged mismanagement of the whole issue.
And the true cost will of course continue to grow as further claims are still being processed.
It’s now some months since I posed the question, in the Reformer, of how the council will negotiate future Government grants if not through COSLA. No answer was forthcoming but we now know that the Scottish Government will only work with COSLA members which leaves rebel councils out on a limb.
In turn Labour’s decision to abandon COSLA leaves the good folk of South Lanarkshire without any voice in future grant decisions.
Labour have now dug themselves into a bunker where they can issue press statements and pretend it’s not their fault. But it is South Lanarkshire council tax payers who will suffer service reductions and increased charges to cover Labour’s past mistakes.
If Labour do not come to their senses soon their bunker may well electorally become their tomb. Councillor Gordon Clark SNP, Rutherglen Central and North ward.