Labour Council Candidates in Forth & Endrick and Trossachs & Teith have today said that a cut to Stirling Council funding from the SNP next week is both a wrong and dangerous road to go down.
Speaking in advance of the Scottish Government laying out its spending plans for the next year, Labour’s candidate for Forth and Endrick, former MSP Dr Richard Simpson said,
“While I know Stirling’s Labour-led administration will do all it can this winter to keep our rural roads safe, the SNP in Edinburgh need to see the bigger picture. Budget cuts not only affect investment in road improvement but also have a real impact on communities trying to go about their daily business which in turn can harm the local economy. Less funding means councils are less able to respond to typical – let alone unusual – winter conditions in future. Although I suspect they’d like it run centrally from Edinburgh, the SNP can’t control the weather – but they can control how much money they give local government who have to keep vital services rolling no matter what the conditions are like. The SNP have to realise that if as a result of their political choices the local government settlement is cut again next week, it will have severe consequences for roads, transport and travel across Scotland.”
Labour’s candidate for Trossachs & Teith, Gartmore resident Gerry McGarvey, says,
“Years and years of cuts and more cuts from the SNP in Edinburgh are having a huge impact on our towns and villages. If the budget is further cut next week, no amount of hand wringing from the SNP will make up for the loss of jobs in the hospitality and other industries if tourists decide to avoid the risk of damage to their vehicles. Buses operators have already decide to cut their services as council subsidies, already stretched to the maximum, can no longer support what the operators need to make rural bus routes viable. We need our government to be supporting Stirling’s rural communities, not making life more difficult for us by slapping us in the face and reducing their financial support.”
After nine years of a council tax freeze, Stirling Council has had to cut over £30 million across all services, with an extra £7 million in this financial year. With around 60% of funding coming from the SNP in Edinburgh, a further cut next week will push services already stretched to breaking point even further.
Richard Simpson added,
“While the SNP will want to point the finger at the Tories in Westminster, it is important to note that while the Tories have cut Scotland’s grant by around 5%, the SNP have cut the grant to local authorities by around 11%. The SNP are the administrators of austerity in Scotland and it is our communities, our roads, our schools, our venerable residents in care and so many more people who suffer. This has to stop and I hope the SNP realise this ahead of their budget statement on Thursday.”
The SNP Government in Edinburgh will publish its draft budget for the coming year on Thursday 15 December.