Politi­cians weigh in on the lat­est school cross­ing pa­troller de­bate

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

Ruther­glen can­di­dates in the 2016 Scot­tish elec­tion this week weighed in on the cross­ing pa­troller is­sue.

Clare Haughey of the SNP ac­cused her Labour op­po­nent James Kelly of engi­neer­ing the school pa­trol crisis in a bid to in­ter­vene and be­come the lo­cal ‘hero’.

But op­po­nents branded her a “hyp­ocrite,” and said the prob­lem stemmed from cuts to coun­cil bud­gets from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment,

She said: “The Labour elec­tion mantra at the moment is ‘choose kids, not cuts’, but it is they who are re­spon­si­ble for where the axe falls in South La­nark­shire. They re­cently did the same thing with the school bus cuts, only to find the money down the back of the sofa, then try to present them­selves as he­roes for sav­ing a ser­vice that they them­selves cut.

“Why has this an­nounce­ment been made now, barely a month be­fore the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment elec­tions? The for­mer MSP for the area, James Kelly, has se­ri­ous ques­tions to an­swer.”

But Ms Haughey has her­self been lam­basted by the Lib Dems and Labour for fail­ing to ac­knowl­edge that SNP coun­cil­lors showed no op­po­si­tion to the school pa­trol changes when pro­posed as part of the 2016/17 bud­get.

Brand­ing Ms Haughey a ‘hyp­ocrite’, James Kelly said: “Re­cent lo­cal is­sues such as the changes to school pa­trol cross­ing ar­range­ments were ac­cepted by SNP coun­cil­lors when the coun­cil passed their own bud­get in Fe­bru­ary.

“It’s the SNP who are forc­ing these cuts on coun­cils and the peo­ple of Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang can see through a des­per­ate can­di­date’s at­tempts to make cheap points.”

Lib Dem coun­cil­lor and Ruther­glen can­di­date Robert Brown agreed, ar­gu­ing he was the only lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive to chal­lenge the first tranche of cuts to pa­trols in 2014.

“This is a very pe­cu­liar and hyp­o­crit­i­cal press state­ment by the SNP can­di­date,” he said.

“Clare Haughey can hardly com­plain about coun­cil cuts im­posed by her own gov­ern­ment and agreed by her own SNP coun­cil­lors.”

Tay­lor Muir, the Con­ser­va­tive Party’s can­di­date for Ruther­glen said he recog­nised par­ent’s con­cerns, adding: “We need to have a re­view of how we fund the cru­cial ser­vices which fam­i­lies rely on to keep them safe in a way which raises rev­enue fairly.

“That’s why I be­lieve we should look again at coun­cil tax, af­ter hav­ing a nine-year freeze, to see how we can raise rev­enue and pre­vent vi­tal ser­vices from be­ing cut.”

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