Monday 21st December 2015
CUTS TO COUNCIL BUDGETS
As was to be expected, John Swinney was strong on his anti-austerity rhetoric during his budget statement last week.
“What we will not do is follow in the UK Government’s footsteps and implement austerity and target the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society” he asserted.
Mr Swinney’s decision to slash local government funding flies in the face of these warm words.
In total over half a billion pounds will be snatched from the hands of councils up and down the country.
Inverclyde’s budget will be raided to the tune of £5m. This comes on top of the substantial cuts already made in previous years.
As a consequence, yet again, the council will be forced to make tough choices about what services it can and cannot maintain, whether it is care visits for the elderly, our leisure facilities or school breakfast clubs.
With one eye firmly on next year’s election Mr Swinney has distanced himself from the difficult decisions and passed the buck onto councils.
True to form he has abdicated responsibility in the interest of political expediency.
It is time that the Finance Secretary got the balance right, accepted the responsibilities of Government and translated his anti-austerity rhetoric into action.
If he really wants to help the poorest and most vulnerable in our society he should abandon his decision to raid local government budgets.