Ni­cola wants to sit round ta­ble with split group

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

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

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