SNP school transport motions rejected

Peter Andre supports Christmas Jumper Day, North Lanarkshire councillors are being asked to do likewise. Photo by Jamie Baker.
Peter Andre supports Christmas Jumper Day, North Lanarkshire councillors are being asked to do likewise. Photo by Jamie Baker.

The SNP Group in North Lanarkshire has accused provost Jean Jones of being more interested in Christmas jumpers than school transport.

Opposition members attempted to present two motions to be heard at the full council meting next Thursday (december 14) relating to the proposed cuts of the school bus service.

The council is consulting on changing the eligibility for primary pupils to be increased from more than one mile from the school campus to two miles and secondary pupils from more than two miles away to three.

Initially SNP motions calling for a halt to the consultations were rejected under the ‘six-month rule’ which stops repeat motions being submitted within that time period.

Amended motions were then submitted that called for ‘no changes to school transport’, but these were ruled ‘not competent’ by the provost.

At the same time Provost Jones has emailed all councillors urging them to wear Christmas jumpers at tomorrow’s meeting, which coincides with Christmas Jumper Day, in aid of charity.

Councillor Tom Johnston, SNP education spokesman, said: “This is an unacceptable abuse of position to shut down debate on their latest attack on the education of our children.

“Instead of discussing the safety and education of the children of North Lanarkshire, the provost would rather we discuss who is wearing the best Christmas jumper.

“This is a serious blow to parents and children and I would call on all councillors to support our motion to suspend standing orders to allow for a full discussion and vote to take place.”

Education convener Councillor Frank McNally hit back at the SNP for being ‘childish’ and defended the provost for applying the rules.

He said: “The arrogance of the SNP group knows no bounds. We have a democratic decision of the council to consult on this matter; it is simply a consultation exercise at present, allowing people to have their say.

“We are only in this position because of the £170 million of cuts inflicted by the Scottish Government, with further deep cuts expected in the new financial year. Rather than calling on their government for a fair funding settlement, the SNP group would rather rip up council rules and, in doing so, attack a Provost who is merely applying those rules.

“What is even more pathetic is the vitriol about the Christmas jumpers initiative, which is aimed at raising money for charity – this behaviour is childish grandstanding of the most desperate kind!”