In a debate on whether or not to accept the finance package for Local Government, proposed by the Scottish Government the SNP Administration in Holyrood were chastised for providing additional resources to the new Integrated Joint Board for Health and Social Care. This was specifically designed to meet the costs of the Private and Voluntary Sectors paying the living wage, to all employees.
The Labour members also dismissed the evidence brought forward by their own officers to the effect that, 59% of children living in poverty in Falkirk District were from low paid working families. This is the category who be would be hit hardest by Labour’s proposals to increase both Income Tax and the Council Tax.
Labour members also scoffed at the figures produced by the Institute of Fiscal Studies that showed budgets in Local Government in England, being cut by 36.6% and refused to acknowledge the superior settlement for Local Government in Scotland.
Perhaps the saddest quote of all came from Council Leader, Craig Martin, who claimed that the Scottish Government were “in control of their own budgets”, ignoring the 12.5% cut in funding from Westminster, the real purse holders.
Speaking during the debate, SNP Councillor, David Alexander said
“I am astonished and saddened that the Labour Party in Falkirk are still targeting the least well off, for their tax policies. In addition wish to remove the protection given to low income families that the Council Tax freeze gives them as well as proposing an increase in Income Tax hits this particular is a double whammy designed to increase the levels of local poverty.”
“This compares very unfavourably with the actions of the Holyrood Government, who have protected our NHS, provided the resources to ensure no one has to pay the Bedroom Tax and made available millions of pounds for welfare issues to mitigate against the Westminster cuts.”
“Of course criticism of the Tory Government in Westminster is not conducive to the cordial alliance that exists in Falkirk Council, between the Labour and Conservative Parties.”