Falkirk Council’s SNP leader, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, has accused the council’s Labour / Tory Administration of “seriously misleading the people of Falkirk” and “failing in their duty of care to the most vulnerable”.
This follows a report to the council’s powerful Policy and Resources Committee that showed Falkirk Council under spent its budget to the tune of £3.52m during the 2011 / 12 financial year.
This follows a report exactly a year ago that showed an under spend of £4.4m in the 2010 /11 financial year.
The Nationalists are angry that such a substantial under spend should arise at a time when the Labour / Tory Administration have been claiming massive cuts have had o be made in essential services. They also point to the fact many vulnerable people now have to pay for essential social care services because the council bosses were pleading poverty.
Indeed, the SNP boss pointed to a section of the finical report that showed Social Services made “substantial savings on staff costs”, the SNP believe that this means front line staff cuts are being made despite the healthy financial position the council finds itself in.
Mrs Meiklejohn went on to say,
“I believe that the current council leaders owe the people of Falkirk an apology for the lines spun over the last year. Hardly a week has gone past without a headline story in the local press justifying cuts in services, new punitive charges for essential services, all blamed on cuts from Holyrood.
However, the message going out to central government is that the current coalition Administration is incapable of spending what they are given.
What Labour and their Tory partners have to tell us is, why if their Administration can’t spend their current budget why would any government seek to increase investment in Falkirk?
Meantime in our communities elderly and infirm people are waiting the best part of a year for assessments to be carried out because of cuts in the numbers of frontline staff such as Occupational Therapists and Homecare specialists.
It’s not good enough although we should now be spared the misleading press releases during future financial considerations”
Now the SNP have submitted a list of demands targeted on the protection of the most vulnerable within the community. The list includes,
- An immediate reduction in the charges for social care services such as MECS and Homecare with a view to phasing out all charges altogether.
- The reversal of cuts in front line staff numbers within Social Services.
- An investment in the Economic Development projects identified to stimulate the local economy and provide jobs and training locally.
- The implementation of the introduction of the Living Wage for our lowest paid workers ,a promise made but never kept by this administration,
Cllr Meiklejohn added,
“Its time to stop the excuses for failure.
The council now has over £12m tucked away in reserves, some of which should be invested now, instead of the austerity packages we are seeing from Labour and their Tory partners.”