Real debate on council tax needed
Many people did a double take when the SNP announced their U-turn on the council tax.
After 10 years of saying it was an unfair tax that they wanted to get rid of, the SNP announced that they were now going to keep it.
The basic issue here is how local councils are funded and what say local people have over the spending priority.
I took the opportunity to challenge SNP communities minister Alex Neil directly in parliament about the SNP government’s cuts to education resulting from the massive cuts in local government funding.
The Scottish Government is cutting £500million from councils across Scotland, and after their U-turn on the council tax, is putting even more pressure on local authorities to make savings.
Unfortunately this threatens teachers, resources and pupil support.
It was a pity that when the SNP Scottish Government had the opportunity to do something about the cuts, they chose instead to cut and paste George Osborne’s austerity measures.
In the coming election, parties will have the opportunity to lay out how they will use the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to make a difference.
It is time now for the parliament to grow up and for the parties to rise to the debate.
The people of Scotland deserve a proper debate; let’s hope all the political parties can live up to that.
The hypocracy of Alex Salmond
We know Alex Salmond is a busy man, and when the SNP promised that their MP’s/MSP’s wouldn’t have a second job, I’m sure we all realised that it shouldn’t apply to him.
It’s only fair that on top of his own MP’s salary, MSP salary, ex First Minister pension which is now being paid, that he should be able to increase his earnings.
That’s why he’s earning over £100,000 extra from writing newspaper columns.
He’s also entered into a commercial contract with LBC radio to host a weekly radio show, which unfortunately for us, is not broadcast in Scotland.
And of course it was only fair that the Scottish Parliament allowed him to broadcast his weekly show from Holyrood because he had to be present in case the SNP lost the budget vote (on Labour’s proposed 1p tax rise to protect public services).
But what is really strange about Alex Salmond’s priorities is what he sees as important.
He recently made time from his busy London schedule to come to Edinburgh to unveil a portrait of himself, but commitments in London prevented him from voting on a bill in the Scottish Parliament to improve organ donations in Scotland.
He said he supports the idea, one which would have saved hundreds of lives each year, but he was just too busy to attend.
It’s time now for parliament to grow up and for parties to rise to the debate
I suppose that says it all.
Out and about James Kelly and his Labour team out in Rutherglen at the weekend