Liberal Democrats comment on South Lanarkshire Council Budget; detailed proposals

1st March 2018

Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown backed South Lanarkshire Council’s Budget at the Executive Committee and the full Council on Wednesday. He said it provided an opportunity to increase the number of teachers in local schools, help child poverty and support the Voluntary Sector.

Robert Brown said:

“Tackling child poverty, closing the attainment gap and supporting the Voluntary sector are the key priorities in today’s challenging environment.

I have long argued for an increase in the school uniform grant for vulnerable families which has not increased for many years and is inadequate for the purpose – and the automatic entitlement provision is welcome. I also strongly support the proposals on expanding free breakfast clubs, developing holiday lunch clubs and tackling the nonsense of Parent Councils raising money for their schools being charged hefty letting fees for the privilege.”

Teachers and early years/care workers

“An extra 3 million is going into more teachers and support assistants and £4 million into expanding the workforce for early years and social care. This will make a considerable difference to schools, nurseries and elderly care.”

Voluntary sector capacity

“We need to focus more on building capacity in voluntary sector organisations. I know of pensioners’ clubs, sports clubs, Residents groups and others which are literally fading away in front of us. Various organisations like Pilotlight, Knowhow Non Profit and the Big Lottery offer various forms of capacity building support.

I was glad to get support from the Administration to look at this in more detail with a view to making sure that bowling clubs, tennis clubs etc are empowered to grow and make full use of facilities and clubhouses, and that community groups can be supported to grow their capacity, all adding to the ability of local people to make life better in their areas.”

Landemer Grant

“I also clarified that there would be a small increase in grant to Rutherglen Landemer Committee – the first for some years.”

Opposition Parties: Tories

“The Tory budget might be fairly described as a curate’s egg – one or two minor good ideas but mostly rather mean-spirited cuts, costing us £2.5million ongoing because they want to be seen as a low tax Party, regardless of the effects on the future of our citizens. I don’t see the point of the so called free school budgets – the Pupil Equity Fund, modelled on the Liberal Democrat pupil premium (introduced by the UK Coalition) already provides far more funding at school level than the rather tokenistic amounts that would come from this. The need is for more teachers and more ASN support to help bring our schools up – something that Liberal Democrats have campaigned for throughout the Scottish budget process and indeed long before.”

Labour

“Labour looked as if they were casting around for something to criticise – there was no real strategy. The previous Labour administration did well to allocate a committed investment over a period to improving the roads and pavements. Clearly there is more to be done but you just need to cross the border into East Renfrewshire, Glasgow or East Dunbartonshire to see what would have happened without this. That strategy comes to an end next year and should be reassessed by the Resource Committee over the next few months. The current Budget maintains the spend for this year and put more money into the consequences of the bad winter.”

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