War of words over City Deal fund­ing

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

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.”

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