Wednesday, 13 February 2013

SNP Slam Tory/Independent Budget Attack on Children and Vulnerable


‘11TH HOUR CHANGES LEAVE TORIES AND INDEPENDENTS LIKE HEADLESS CHICKENS’ – SNP Opposition Leader, Cllr Pearl Paul

SNP Councillors in Moray have lined up to slam the Tory/Independent Moray Council Administration’s budget which they say is an attack on children and the vulnerable.

During the budget debate in Moray’s Council Chamber the SNP opposition group of councillors rounded on Tory/Independent Councillors for ‘presiding over an incoherent budget that paid lip service to strategy and which isolated people and demoralised frontline staff’.

The SNP argued over several years for more attention to areas where the Tories and Independents could have found alternative savings that would significantly reduce the impact on frontline services including primary schools, libraries and public transport services in rural areas.

In a budget amendment SNP Group Leader Cllr Pearl Paul stated that the Administration should look at these areas and come back to a further meeting of the Council with a significantly amended budget taking account of the serious concerns raised by both the public and opposition councillors alike.

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Pearl Paul said:

Ward 1
Speyside Glenlivet
“What we have seen today is a Tory led administration with independent councillors propping up a series of shocking budget plans which is an attack on children and the vulnerable.

“The Tories and Independents say themselves that they have been working on this for six months but despite that ended up running round like headless chickens making a major budget change at the last minute in response to major opposition to their plans.

“They may well have consulted but they certainly didn’t listen and have now been forced into an eleventh hour, humiliating climbdown in the face of fierce opposition.

“In schools the reduction of Classroom Assistants will still make the critical delivery of Curriculum for Excellence much, much harder for staff and seriously risks turning the clock back from active learning for children to rows of desks and learning by rote.

“The library closures in Burghead, Hopeman, Rothes, Dufftown, Findochty, Portknockie and Cullen is basically taking one of the Council’s best performing services and destroying the good work and good will of library staff and the volunteers and communities that have supported the service over many years. We have an ageing population who need the support provided by libraries.

“Not only have they sounded the death knell for 7 libraries but they have also removed the subsidy for bus services that could have helped those libraries’ users get to other facilities.

“This regressive Tory/Independent budget does not represent the priorities of Moray’s people or of the SNP.”
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