4th December 2017
Council services can take no more cuts without serious reductions in both general Council services and in education and social work services supporting children and vulnerable people. This was the comment by Rutherglen South Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown in reaction to South Lanarkshire Council’s budget proposals which go before the Executive Committee this week.
Robert Brown said:
“The Council is largely dependent on central government grant for funding for local services. These are vital services like teaching staff in education, social work staff caring for vulnerable children, disabled people and older people together with the cultural, sporting and voluntary sector supports which provide libraries, football fields, youthwork provision, employment support and a range of other things which make South Lanarkshire a better place.
For some years we have suffered annual budget shortfalls of around £20 million. The result has been salami slicing of key staff in all areas. We have had a “double whammy” – reductions from the SNP Government in the Council share of the Scottish budget as well as the general austerity since the banking crisis in 2008.
This constant damage to Council services has to stop– it affects every citizen of South Lanarkshire in some way, and particularly people more dependent on local services, such as older people and children.
I am particularly concerned at the further cuts in attendance and behaviour support in schools, the heavy cuts proposed in road and pavement resurfacing and the growing pressure on community care for elderly people.
Liberal Democrats have consistently argued for a 1p increase in Scottish income tax to fund a transformational investment in education – and there are now at last some signs that the SNP Scottish Government in Edinburgh is embarrassed by the way Scottish schools have been slipping down international league tables under their watch and are looking at this. It is not before time.
Final decisions will probably not be taken on the Council budget until February. Before then, we need announcements of clear and specific support from the Scottish Government. They have the powers – they need to use them!”