Holyrood protest over council cuts

Labour councillors from across Lanarkshire (l-r) Monica Lennon, Frank McNally, Ged Killen, Paul Kelly, Richard Tullett, Andrew Spowart and Maureen Devlin make their feelings known on the council cuts.
Labour councillors from across Lanarkshire (l-r) Monica Lennon, Frank McNally, Ged Killen, Paul Kelly, Richard Tullett, Andrew Spowart and Maureen Devlin make their feelings known on the council cuts.
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Labour councillors from across Lanarkshire will travel to the Scottish Parliament next week to demand more money for local authorities.

Councillors from North and South Lanarkshire Council, trade union members and community activists will join together on Thursday, November 26, to hold a protest at Holyrood.

North Lanarkshire Council is facing £68 million worth of cuts this year, and South Lanarkshire is facing £36 million, which will have dire implications for a full range of vital services, including education, leisure centres, libraries, social work and home care.

During the protest councillors will be demanding the SNP Government fully fund local government services to offset the cuts.

They also want a fairer model of local government finance to restore the democratic and fiscal link between councils and taxpayers.

Mossend and Holytown councillor Frank McNally 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 have been asked to do for far too long.

“The SNP Government 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 these are cuts to communities.

“As those elected to serve our communities, we are not willing to put up with it any longer.

“We are demanding that the SNP ministers, who have been responsible for funding councils for eight years, provide a fairer deal to our councils.

“We accept that the Conservative UK Government has cut the Scottish budget, but the SNP Government has disproportionately cut funding to local authorities, which is unacceptable.”

Motherwell West councillor Paul Kelly added: “Cuts of £68 million are being forced upon North Lanarkshire Council by the SNP Government, which come on top of cuts totalling £110 million in recent years.

“South Lanarkshire has previously made cuts of £89 million and will have to cut a further £36 million in the next financial year - it has to stop!

“Both Lanarkshire councils serve communities where there are significant issues of poverty and deprivation.

“Services must be protected, but these cuts will have a terrible impact across the board if the SNP Government does not step up to the mark.

“Our councils do not want special treatment, just a fair funding settlement for the people we serve, and we hope people from across Lanarkshire will join us in this fight.”