War of words over City Deal funding
A war of words has erupted between South Lanarkshire’s Labour and SNP groups over the Glasgow Region City Deal.
The deal was approved by the UK Government in 2014 and will offer over £1 billion in investment over eight council areas, including South Lanarkshire, over the next two decades.
According to the council’s website, the investment will“fund major infrastructure projects, create thousands of new jobs and help thousands of unemployed people back to work, improve public transport and connectivity, drive business innovation and growth and generate billions of pounds of private sector investment”.
The deal provided funding for the Cathkin Relief Road and Newton community growth area.
However, the local Labour group has now hit out at“concerning reports”that the new SNP administration at the authority is“attempting to renegotiate some of the deal the previous administration signed up to without having sought approval to do so”.
Labour Group leader, Councillor Davie McLachlan, said:“I am concerned by reports that the SNP administration are attempting to unpick the City Deal.
“All parties signed up to an agreement that will deliver over £100 million of infrastructure investment in South Lanarkshire alone and no review of the projects included in the deal has ever been brought in front of any committee in South Lanarkshire Council. In fact, council officers recently confirmed that the City Deal was proceeding‘as is’.
“I call on John Ross to be transparent and make clear to our constituents exactly what parts of the City Deal he is proposing to renegotiate and where his mandate to do so comes from.
“In the meantime, the City Deal should go ahead as planned.”
South Lanarkshire’s SNP group hit back, saying that some of the City Deal projects were“controversial”, and that a review would be carried out as promised by the group in the lead-up to the election.
A group spokesman said:“The SNP won the election only a few months ago on a manifesto that included conducting a review of the City Deal.
“Manifestos in elections give mandates for governing.
“Some of the projects included are controversial and it is only right that the new administration looks into deals signed up to by the previous administration.
“There is no question over the scale of the investment in South Lanarkshire – which will continue - but how some of the funding should be spent.
“If change is forthcoming, the correct process will follow.”