Nicola wants to sit round table with split group
The breakaway local authority group that South Lanarkshire is a member of say they are confident of avoiding legal action against the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Local Government Partnership (SLGP) initially threatened the action after Nicola Sturgeon refused to negotiate with the partnership on financial matters.
However, the cabinet secretary for communities, Angela Constance, wrote to the group last week on behalf of the first minister offering to get round the table and discuss the stand off.
South Lanarkshire, along with Aberdeen, Glasgow and Renfrewshire, quit COSLA last year after accusing the umbrella group for Scottish councils of not representing their best interests.
Eddie McAvoy, South Lanarkshire Council leader, said:“The government’s offer of talks is a significant breakthrough. Given their reluctance to deal with us up to now, they were never going to give us equal negotiating rights with COSLA straight away.
“But the fact that they have recognised their statutory duty to talk to all local authorities, combined with an offer of bi-lateral discussions with ministers and the SLGP, clearly shows that a process is now underway.”
However, Councillor Davie Watson of South Lanarkshire’s SNP group, was critical of the SLGP for threatening legal action in the first place.
He said: “When Labour and Tory councillors voted to isolate South Lanarkshire Council from the main negotiating body for Scottish councils, the SNP Group questioned the wisdom of this and highlighted the fact that we would be excluded from meaningful negotiations.
“This argument was rubbished by Labour and Tory councillors and now they want to spend public money fighting the Scottish Government in the courts.”
Breakthrough Councillor Eddie McAvoy