Politicians weigh in on the latest school crossing patroller debate
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.”