Labour claim they kicked off regeneration work along the Quayside
Dumbarton from Levengrove on a sunny afternoon. Picture by Bill Heaney
New figures released by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre show that the SNP Government has reduced funding for West Dunbartonshire Council by almost £12 million over the last three years.
The funding settlement given to councils from Holyrood pays for vital local services such as schools, roads and social care services. A loss of £11.9 million will have had a severe impact on the council’s ability to provide the services which people require.
The cuts to West Dunbartonshire represent £115 less per head of the population, and an almost 6% decrease since 2013-14. The Scottish Government has effectively tripled the austerity passed on from the UK Government, which was 1.8% until 2017-18, according to Dumbarton and Lomond MSP Jackie Baillie.
She said: “The cuts passed on from this SNP Government has had a significant impact on services for our community. It has been a huge burden for West Dunbartonshire Council to save almost £12 million in the last 5 years and the signs of austerity are certainly beginning to show.
“The new SNP-administration in West Dunbartonshire have done nothing to protect our community from the cuts passed on by their government in Holyrood. In their first budget we have seen cuts to Education Maintenance Allowance and the care of garden scheme, cuts which affect the most vulnerable.
“The SNP has consistently said that they are treating local government fairly, but this report shows that this is not the case. It is time that Nicola Sturgeon recognised the impact that her cuts have had on communities, not just in West Dunbartonshire, but across Scotland.”
Martin Rooney (pictured left), Leader of West Dunbartonshire Labour Group, said: “It comes as no great surprise to learn that the official Scottish Government figures show that West Dunbartonshire residents have lost out on millions of pounds of council funding over the last three years.
“The Scottish Government cuts have hampered the development of our area and led to loss of services, jobs and deterioration in public amenities. In contrast the previous Labour administration invested millions of pounds into public infrastructure such as schools, libraries, care homes and roads as well as public parks.
“We also unlocked major regeneration sites like Dumbarton Harbour and Queens Quay in Clydebank to help attract investment to our area and give more opportunities to our citizens.”
Meanwhile, proposals presented by Labour MSP, David Stewart to make fire sprinklers mandatory in new-build social housing have been met with overwhelming support from the Scottish public.
David Stewart consulted on the proposal’s for his new members’ bill which would see all new-build social housing automatically fitted with fire sprinklers. The results showed that 94% of respondents were supportive of this plan.
Social housing in Dumbarton – new builds should have sprinklers installed post Grenfell. Pictures by Bill Heaney
People across the UK have been anxious about fire safety since last summer’s tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London. People have rightly been asking questions about how this could have happened in the first place and how their safety can be improved going forward.
Jackie Baillie said: “The scale of the support for David Stewart’s members bill shows the true need for greater fire safety in Scottish social housing. People are rightly worried that what happened at Grenfell could be replicated in their own home.
“Fitting sprinkler systems would give residents the reassurance that they are desperate for. Fire suppression systems are a tried and tested method of saving lives. Concentrating on social housing allows the bill to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our communities where the risks of fire are the greatest.”