Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP-administration debated the budget for Glasgow with local councillors after more than £50million cuts were enforced. Glasgow and Edinburgh then voted to increase council tax bill by up to five percent. But Conservative Cllr Euan Blockley criticised SNP councillors for not standing up to the Government as he insisted they should “grow a backbone”.
Mr Blockley said: “The budget process is supposed to spark a debate on how best to spend our city’s resources but instead we’re having to debate what to cut with the nationalist knife.
“What does this cut look like? Over £50million is being cut from our budget by the Scottish Government.
“Areas like health, social work and education are all going to suffer because the SNP in this chamber cannot grow a spine and for once stand up to their colleagues.
“All councillors need to do is say, ‘no, enough. Our city cannot take this anymore’.
“Local Government is vital in the day to day life of Glaswegians, it is not a political football for them to kick around Holyrood.
“The savings options made for grim reading. In my own portfolio for education we were forced to make incredibly difficult decisions just to get this budget balanced.
“What I want to know is how can the SNP councillors look teachers in the eye and tell them they did all they could.
“How do they tell the parents of pupils in my ward how their Government bullied parties in this chamber to make drastic cuts in education when their Government is sitting on a £400million underspend.”
During the meeting, more than £42million has been made in savings as the council tax rose by a further 4.64 percent, with an increase to £1,386 per year for band D households.
The budget will see the closure of Blairvadach Outdoor Resource Centre, charging residents for bulk uplifts, reduction of street sweeping services and ending free city centre parking for councillors.
City treasurer councillor Allan Gow said: “I regret the increase in council tax but I believe that there is no other option. It will hopefully mitigate some of the impact on our poorest people in Glasgow.
“We have sought to protect our most vulnerable people in our community.
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“We will continue the holiday fund and universal free school meals to all children from primary 1 to primary 4.”
Education convener Chris Cunningham said that he was determined to protect teachers in class while continuing to bridge the attainment gap.
Mr Cunningham said: “Labour’s willingness to sack teachers will haunt them for years to come. The closure of Blairvadach is deeply regrettable but we will create a number of outdoor learning activities.
“Improving attainment must remain our highest priority. We will continue to commit to maintaining teacher numbers.”
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