The County You Live, Work And Play
Councillors Stage Protest
Councillors Paul Kelly, Richard Tullett, Ged Killen, Andrew Spowart, Monica Lennon, Maureen Devlin
and Frank McNally
Councillors are protesting against planned cuts to the budgets of both Lanarkshire councils.
The councillors say decisions taken by the SNP Government have forced hundreds of millions to be cut from both North and South Lanarkshire Councils since 2008.
South Lanarkshire Council are facing £36 million worth of cuts this year, and North Lanarkshire are expected to cut £68 million.
Councillors, trade union members and community activists will be taking part in the protest at the Scottish Parliament on November 26. They are worried about the implications budget cuts will have on education, leisure centres, libraries, social work and home care.
Hamilton councillor Monica Lennon said: “I did not become a councillor to cut services, pay or jobs. Sadly, as a consequence of decisions taken in Edinburgh and London, that is what councillors across Scotland have been asked to do for far too long.
“The SNP Government in Edinburgh directly provides more than 80 per cent of funding to both councils. This funding has been cut and continues to be cut in real terms and, let’s be clear, cuts to councils are cuts to communities.
“As those elected to serve our communities, we are not willing to put up with it any longer.
“We will be protesting at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, November 26, to demand that the SNP Government Ministers – who have been responsible for funding councils now for eight years – finally provide a fairer deal to our councils.
“We accept that the Tories have cut the Scottish budget but the SNP Government has disproportionately cut funding to local authorities, which is simply unacceptable.”
Councillor Maureen Devlin said: “Our councils do not want special treatment, far from it. We just want a fair funding settlement for the people we serve and we hope people from across Lanarkshire will join us in this fight.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Despite cuts of nearly 10 per cent to the Scottish budget from the UK Government, local government has been treated very fairly by the Scottish Government and protected from the worst impact of UK cuts.
“Local government finance settlements have been maintained over the period
2012-16, with extra money for new responsibilities and, as a result, the total settlement in 2015-16 now amounts to over £10.85 billion.
“All Scottish local authorities, including North and South Lanarkshire, are in receipt of their fair share of the total funding. The later-than-expected 2015 UK spending review publication means we will not know what Scotland’s block grant is until late November, although it is clear we face significant further austerity over the coming years. Scottish Ministers will publish spending plans following the UK spending review.”