Left with no voice

Rutherglen Reformer - - Reformer View -

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.

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