Labour/Tory budget goes through by 3 votes

David Alexander

Elderly and disabled people are the worst off after being targeted by Falkirk Council’s Labour / Tory coalition in a £1,000,000 charges bombshell.

In 2006 the SNP abolished Home Care charges for all recipients of the service in line with our policy priority of protecting the most vulnerable within our community. Labour and the Tories have not only reintroduced these charges but have set a budget target of £1m to be taken from the pensions and benefits of elderly and disabled people.

There was also contempt for the young, particularly pupils of the Carrongrange special needs school at Larbert who will now have to pay for meals for the first time. Labour and Tory Councillors were given the choice of retaining their own free tea, coffee and biscuits or retaining free lunches for Carrongrange pupils, they chose to retain their own free service.

Other Labour proposals were.

  • Increase the cost of school meals by 10% on top of last years 22% hike.
  • Introduce new charges for Pest Control.
  • 100% increase in some fees for taxi drivers licenses.
  • Privatisation of the council’s Community Services
  • 15% increase sports and leisure charges
  • Dramatic cuts in staffing levels of key services
  • 3% cut to grants to the Voluntary Sector
  • Cuts in grants and help to community groups.

Commenting on the budget SNP Group Leader, David Alexander,

“London Tory leader, old Etonian David Cameron, speaking at the Tory Party in Scotland conference told us that the Tory Party of today is not the same party of Margaret Thatcher.

Falkirk Council’s budget where the most vulnerable people are targeted is proof that not only has Cameron’s Tory Councillors not changed from the policies of spite but they now have bedfellows in Falkirk New Labour.

Never before can there have been a budget so much targeted at making the least well off even poorer in this district.

It was a budget that brought shame to the Labour Party but would at the same time have drawn admiring comments from Thatcher herself.”

SNP Amendment to the Budget

  • Delete proposals for £1m charges for Social Works Services to protect the elderly and disabled, cost – £1,000,000.
  • Reverse closure of the out of hours Mental Health helpline – £90,000
  • Additional investment in Children’s Social Work Services  for a new therapeutic centre- £100,000
  • Additional investment towards reduction in class sizes in areas of deprivation £48,500
  • Freeze school meal charges £170,000
  • Cancel proposals for meal charges for special needs pupils –  £20,000
  • Background work to produce a community Bankier style community wing for Blackness PS – £10,000
  • STAG Report for Grangemouth and Bonnybridge Railway stations – £40,000
  • Increase in small grants budget – £10,000
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