By Bill Heaney
Jackie Baillie has demanded the SNP address how it plans to protect councils from having to implement cuts as Scotland’s local authorities face budgeting ‘chaos’.
Last week it was revealed that councils across Scotland were being forced to prepare to slash teacher jobs due to the SNP government’s deep cuts to council budgets.
Despite this, Labour-run West Dunbartonshire Council are not proposing any reduction in teacher numbers in their budget which is due to be discussed and voted on at a full council meeting early next month.
In SNP-run Glasgow City Council alone, some 800 teacher jobs were said to be potentially due to be cut.
In response, and with many councils already having drawn up their budgets, the SNP government issued a press release stating that they would intervene to prevent job losses – but a week on from this, no further details have emerged.
Labour leader Anas Sarwar took Nicola Sturgeon to task over cash cuts to councils at First Minister’s Questions in parliament today (full report later in The Democrat).
A COSLA document obtained by Labour has revealed that despite the SNP government issuing ‘red lines’ to Scotland’s councils, they have provided no new support to help councils deal with the financial impact of SNP cuts.
Teacher’s salaries account for 29 percent of the net revenue budgets of the country’s local authorities.
With Scotland’s councils due to now vote on budgets, it is vital that the SNP government explain how they will support councils to protect teacher’s jobs.
Labour’s Jackie Baillie and Anas Sarwar, campaigning against cash cuts for councils.
Dumbarton constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie said: “Scotland’s councils are staring down the barrel of savage cuts which are posing a real threat to frontline services.
“In West Dunbartonshire, I am relieved that no reduction in teachers is being proposed in the budget the Labour administration will present within the coming weeks but there are tough decisions to be made across the board after 15 years of under-funding for local authorities by the SNP Government.
“Labour has been warning for weeks that this is where we were headed. The SNP’s last minute panic response was a press release promising action but nothing has changed with councils still in the dark and crucial budgets now in chaos.
“The situation could not be more urgent, but all the SNP government has done is offer vague threats and none of the vital cash needed to rescue the situation.
“Council finances are in chaos – but this SNP government is missing in action.
“The SNP have spoken long and weary about being judged on their record in education. That is in tatters with teachers and pupils no more than an afterthought. The level of incompetence from SNP ministers is breath-taking.”