Nats need deal to get budget through
Now we’re into January, the clock is ticking for the Scottish Government to reach an agreement over its draft budget for the coming year.
The SNP are a minority once again so they need another party in parliament to either abstain or support their proposals to get them through next month.
Many people are still struggling to make ends meet so it’s disappointing to see the Scottish Government persist with a one per cent pay cap for most public sector workers, while also proposing an income tax break for high earners and a reduction in air duty, which again mostly benefits the richest. At the same time the public transport people use every day is being cut.
Local councils also continue to be squeezed.
South Lanarkshire Council, for example, is facing a revenue cut of almost four per cent this year.
Already spending cuts have been approved by the council. These are expected to impact on children with additional support needs, wider children’s services and youth budgets.
The voluntary sector are also warning of cuts to their services, relied upon by so many people. This includes cuts to Healthy n Happy Trust, a really active local organisation who have achieved and spearheaded so much.
Locally people are concerned about a lack of investment and the condition of Cambuslang and Rutherglen town centres.
There are concerns about graffiti, too many empty shops and lack of diversity in the shops that are there.
In other European countries it’s normal for local councils to have much greater freedom to tackle such problems, using a range of local taxes and other powers. Scotland’s councils, so reliant on government funding, find their hands tied.
If Scottish ministers want to pass their budget they’ll have to acknowledge these concerns and prepare to give ground.
Campaigner Patrick Harvie