Labour must shoul­der some of the blame for £85 mil­lion bud­get cuts

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West MP Mar­garet Ferrier reck­ons Labour must shoul­der some of the blame for the £85mil­lion cuts fac­ing South La­nark­shire Coun­cil.

But Labour’s James Kelly this week ac­cused the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment of deny­ing coun­cil’s ac­cess to much needed cash.

We re­vealed last week the au­thor­ity was fac­ing un­prece­dented pres­sure on its bud­get.

Coun­cil leader Ed­die McAvoy called on Scot­tish MP’s to “make the case for lo­cal gov­ern­ment” at Westminster.

How­ever, Ms Ferrier claimed Labour MP’s had backed aus­ter­ity when they voted for the Char­ter for Bud­get Re­spon­si­bil­ity, a claim re­peat­edly rub­bished by Labour them­selves.

Ms Ferrier said this week: “It is un­for­tu­nate that the Labour Party, when given the re­cent op­por­tu­nity to do so at the Gen­eral Elec­tion, chose to cham­pion con­tin­ued aus­ter­ity rather than fol­low the SNP’s lead and op­pose it.

“Per­haps if they had, they would have won a sig­nif­i­cantly greater amount of seats South of the bor­der and Scot­land would not now be faced with fur­ther cuts from Westminster.

“I will con­tinue to op­pose aus­ter­ity, and in do­ing so, con­tinue to make the case for lo­cal gov­ern­ment.”

Af­ter back­ing the Char­ter for Bud­get Re­spon­si­bil­ity, which sets bind­ing tar­gets on public spend­ing, ear­lier this year, then MP Tom Greatrex, de­fended the de­ci­sion and ac­cused the SNP of mis­lead­ing the public.

He said: “The Char­ter is for a com­mit­ment to bal­ance the cur­rent bud­get over the course of a Par­lia­ment – in other words day-to-day spend­ing ex­clud­ing cap­i­tal in­vest­ment.”

James Kelly MSP, mean­while, said the SNP’s un­der­spend last year could have gone to sup­port­ing public ser­vices.

He said: “Ev­ery sin­gle day I am con­tacted by con­stituents feel­ing the bru­tal ef­fects of the cuts.

“Par­ents are wor­ried sick about get­ting their kids to school safely and yet the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment are sit­ting on a cash pot in Ed­in­burgh re­fus­ing to prop­erly fund South La­nark­shire Coun­cil.

“Un­der­spend­ing a bud­get is a sign of poor fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, and it is hard work­ing fam­i­lies in our com­mu­ni­ties who are feel­ing the ef­fects.”

Fi­nance sec­re­tary John Swin­ney had said the un­der­spend would be taken for­ward to lessen the im­pact of cuts at a UK level, say­ing it showed “sen­si­ble man­age­ment” of Scot­land’s public fi­nances.

Coun­cil­lors agreed the re­port that pre­dicted the cuts at an ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee last week with­out dis­cus­sion, although the SNP are un­der­stood to be­lieve it is “crys­tal-ball gaz­ing.”

While SLC are fac­ing tough times, Glas­gow may need to slash £100m from it’s bud­get over just two years .

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.