A major row has broken out just a few weeks after the Scottish independence referendum when Falkirk Council’s Labour and Conservative leaders campaigned for a No vote under the title, Better “Together”
Now it has been revealed that Falkirk Council are seeking to cut over £40 million from council budgets over the next three years based on spending announcements by the UK Government.
SNP Group Leader , Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, has accused the council’s coalition leaders of keeping this information from the people of Falkirk District during the referendum campaign and failing to inform residents of where the axe will fall.
The SNP Group were briefed by council Finance officials who have been tasked with finding cuts of £7.8 million in 2015/16, £17.4millionn in 16/17 and £15.2 million in 2017/18 despite the fact only the first year figures are available from the Scottish Government with the later two years figures being projections of cuts in the Scottish Budget from Westminster.
Cllr Meiklejohn said,
“We are now seeing the consequences of a NO vote in the recent referendum.”
“Falkirk Council’s Labour Leader and Tory Depute Leader have a responsibility to not only explain why they withheld the scale of their proposed cuts from the people during the referendum campaign but why they believe the cuts equate to being better together.”
“Over the last few years we have seen the poorest within our community targeted by both local and UK Government for an unfair shouldering of cuts in services and hikes in charges. From the so called welfare reforms from Westminster to the local coalition’s massive hikes in Homecare charges the target has been those least able to fight back.”
“The council’s Labour and Conservative Administration now need to be up front in the cuts they are proposing over the next three years with both the Labour and Tory parties signing up to the same spending limits at UK level.”
“My fear is that with a cigarette paper between Labour and the Tory Party in policy terms and coalitions between both parties at local and national levels we will see further attacks on the elderly and other vulnerable groups. The irony of this is that the elderly were the section of the community the NO campaign did manage to frighten into voting NO and yet that group will become the major victims on this decision.”