After the bombast and insults from Labour, North Ayrshire SNP sets out why the council settlement is to be welcomed and urges Labour councillor colleagues to step up and contribute positively to the budget process.
On Monday North Ayrshire Council agreed a funding deal that will deliver a wage rise for social care workers, the protection of the pupil-teacher ratio, action on education attainment and the continuation of the fully funded council tax freeze.
Commenting, SNP Finance spokesperson Cllr Ruth Maguire said:
“People in the communities we serve are switched on and can see right through the Labour tactics played out in our local press this week – they know that this is very little to do with Local v. Central Government and more like a last throw of the dice from Labour politicians who, having stood shoulder to shoulder with the Tories, see power slipping away from them.
There is still time though for Labour to step up and do the right thing for the communities they were elected to represent.
“This agreement will ensure that despite unprecedented pressure placed on the Scottish budget by Tory austerity cuts, the public’s priorities will continue to be delivered at a national and local level.
“The local government settlement delivers a Living Wage for social care workers and will make additional funding available to support the biggest reform in our health service since 1948 by integrating health and social care – a reform that was unanimously endorsed by all North Ayrshire councillors.
“Despite the highly emotive cries of attacks on local democracy by Labour leader Peter McNamara our new way of working through the Health and Social care partnership is actually enhancing local democracy bringing decision making closer to our communities.”
“No one will take seriously a claim that a room full of councillors can make better decisions about health and social care services than the Health and Social Care board made up of elected members, trade union representatives, GPs, Carers representatives, patient representatives, health and social workers.”
“Additional funding is being provided to North Ayrshire Council to improve educational attainment and to maintain the pupil-teacher ratio in our schools – ensuring that every child can reach their full potential.
“With council tax bills frozen for a ninth consecutive year, meaning a total saving of more than £1,500 for the average band D household, this is a settlement that delivers a pay raise for people on low wages – not a tax rise for all as proposed by Labour.”
“Recognising the financial challenges we face North Ayrshire SNP remain ambitious for North Ayrshire and will propose a budget on Wednesday that delivers on our key priorities:
To grow our economy, increase employment and regenerate towns, work together to develop strong economies, ensure people have the right skills for learning, life and work, support all our people to stay safe, healthy and active and protect and enhance the environment for future generations.”
“We hope every councillor in the chamber will do the right thing, take responsibility and join us next Wednesday in setting a balanced budget that delivers for the people of North Ayrshire.”