Relations between local businesses and the local authority reached a new low with the performance of controversial Labour Councillor, Dennis Goldie, Convenor of the council’s Economic Development Committee during the recent meeting of the full council.
In an extraordinary demonstration of contempt for the successful Falkirk for Business support agency.
In a speech that may have future ramifications Dennis Goldie made a number of allegations against the management of and was forced into embarrassing u-turns following cross examination of comments made during his introduction of the report updating Councillors on the takeover of the Business Support functions on 1 October.
First of all Goldie claimed he had been informed by Internal Auditors that there were “serious concerns regarding financial matters” but refused to elaborate when pressed claiming he had no knowledge of the detail of the concerns.
Next up Cllr Goldie alleged the Chamber of Commerce staff had awarded themselves a 10% pay rise, the clear implication being that this was awarded just prior to the transfer of the staff to Falkirk Council. Indeed the Labour member made reference to the enhancement of terms and conditions leading up to the TUPE offer.
Thirdly, Dennis Goldie alleged that requested papers were being with-held from the council with a change of heart only coming at lunchtime that day.
In a performance that typified the arrogance of the Administration Goldie was forced to admit that.
Only 1 of the 4 current business advisors employed by Falkirk for Business has agreed to transfer to the council thus breaking the promise Goldie made that there would be continuity in the service delivery.
That the shortfall of advisors will be filled by expensive private consultants after strong questioning by SNP members.
Initially denying he had ever met Falkirk for Business representatives Mr Goldie finally recalled a meeting with Falkirk for Business leaders.
SNP Economic Development spokesperson, Martin Oliver said,
“I have never seen such a vindictive and dishonest performance than that of Councillor Goldie.
At a time when we need everyone pull in the same direction to create jobs and opportunities we have Labour and the Tories declaring war on local businesses.
The contrast from when the SNP were in control when real partnerships resulted in the multi award winning “My Future’s in Falkirk” economic development strategy could not be more stark.
Now all of that is being abandoned by Mr Goldie who has substituted division in place of unity of purpose, mistrust for respect and abuse for dialogue.
The real victims will be local businesses and those who will lose out on employment opportunities because of Mr Goldie and his Tory colleagues.”
On the same day as Mr Goldie was making waves within Falkirk Council Head of Economic Development, Douglas Duff was called before the Scottish Parliament; a link to the committee is below.