Budget Time

Finance Minister John Swinney’s notion of a balanced budget in recent years has been to shift the weight of responsibility for making tough decisions onto others.

Well, his budget presented before parliament last week was no different and was true to form.

He announced a massive cut to council budgets to the tune of six hundred million over the next two years.

As a consequence Inverclyde Council will be forced into a position in which it has to decide whether it can afford services which local people rely on such as care visits for the elderly, leisure facilities and after school clubs.

John Swinney has placed the weight of responsibility onto colleges too. He has ignored their plight, and has given them the same amount of cash they received last year.

As a consequence, what we recognise as James Watt, will have to decide which staff are made redundant, which courses are cut and students will be told that they have to travel further for less.

And of course, when he had the opportunity to lift the weight from those desperately worried about the impact of the Bedroom Tax he also failed.

He neglected to provide the certainty that people need and only committed half the funding required to mitigate the effect of this inequitable tax.

It will now be Inverclyde Council that will have to decide which people are the deserving and undeserving poor.

With one eye firmly on next year’s Independence Referendum Mr Swinney has distanced himself from the difficult decisions.

He has abdicated responsibility in the interest of political expediency.

Its time that John Swinney got the balance right and accepted the responsibilities of government and stop passing the buck onto others.