‘Who­ever put pro­pos­als for­ward should be shot’, coun­cil­lor tells crowd at cuts meet­ing

Pub­lic show of strength as hun­dreds at­tend meet­ings to voice cuts con­cern

The Oban Times - - News -

A COUN­CIL­LOR said pro­posed bud­gets cuts af­fect­ing chil­dren with spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs are ‘ mad­ness’ and ‘ who­ever put them for­ward should be shot’.

Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil­lor Neil Mac­In­tyre told the 300-strong crowd at a meet­ing in the Cor­ran Halls, Oban, last Wed­nes­day that he could guar­an­tee the pro­posed cuts to 70 ad­di­tional sup­port needs (ASN) posts would not go ahead.

Mr Mac­In­tyre re­peat­edly said: ‘The cuts to this ser­vice will not hap­pen. Who is go­ing to vote for them? This will be with­drawn. It shouldn’t have been out for con­sul­ta­tion in the first place. It is mad­ness.’

Mr Mac­In­tyre said he was not on the bud­get board at the coun­cil, which put for­ward the pro­pos­als in the first place, adding that the move was ‘mad­ness; who­ever put it in should be shot’.

Par­ents voiced their con­cerns, ask­ing why the pro­posed ser­vice cut was in the con­sul­ta­tion in the first place.

Speech ther­a­pist Ju­lia Hannah and for­mer ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer Wilma Lawn both gave pre­sen­ta­tions to sup­port the par­ents; Ms Hannah be­lieved that the strides that many chil­dren have made in us­ing lan­guage was be­cause of the ex­ten­sive work by ASN staff in schools. Ms Lawn ques­tioned the le­gal­ity of re­mov­ing 70 staff.

Other coun­cil­lors at the meet­ing were also ques­tioned about the pro­posed cuts.

As Oban, Lorn and the Isles area leader Roddy McCuish rose to his feet to speak, one par­ent shouted from the au­di­ence: ‘Liar’.

When asked di­rectly why the ASN cuts were in­cluded in the con­sul­ta­tion, he said: ‘I thought it was the right thing to do.’ Mr McCuish asked the area com­mit­tee to work with him to find a way through the bud­get pro­pos­als.

The of­ten-heated de­bate be­tween coun­cil­lors fo­cused on the is­sue of who made the de­ci­sion to put for­ward the pro­pos­als in the first place.

Dunoon coun­cil­lor Michael Bres­lin, the for­mer di­rec­tor of Ar­gyll Col­lege, said get­ting in­for­ma­tion about the bud­get pro­posal project board was dif­fi­cult. He said: ‘North Korea is the anal­ogy that I think about Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil.’

Af­ter the meet­ing, a spokesper­son for Ar­gyll and Bute Par­ents against Coun­cil Cuts (AB-PACC) said: ‘The com­mu­nity of Oban turned out in vast num­bers at a pub­lic meet­ing to raise aware­ness and to voice their con­cerns to Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil­lors over the pro­posed 45 per cent cuts to the ad­di­tional sup­port needs bud­get. The Cor­ran Halls were packed on Wed­nes­day night. Our cam­paign will con­tinue. We will fight for ev­ery child in Ar­gyll and Bute.’

We’ll fight for ev­ery child in Ar­gyll and Bute”

Spokesper­son

AB-PACC

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