Derek Mackay, fiery exchange over Council cuts

In the Scottish Parliament, West Scotland MSP Jamie Greene slammed Finance Secretary Derek Mackay and Cunninghame North MSP Kenneth Gibson over SNP budget proposals to cut North Ayrshire Council’s budget by over £5 million.

During a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the impact of the Scottish Budget on public services Mr Greene told MSPs that North Ayrshire Council is struggling to deliver public services already without additional cuts. He told the MSPs that public consultations from other West of Scotland councils included proposals to reduce grants to voluntary organisations, remove breakfast clubs and to close public toilets, libraries and youth centres just to balance its book.

Whilst there was no suggestion that North Ayrshire would copy these measures Mr Greene said that it was “highly likely that the council group will be reviewing punitive measures to make savings.”

The West Scotland MSP claimed that after 11 years of sluggish growth in the Scottish economy it was local authorities and working families that were paying the price.

The SNP was defeated in the debate when MSPs voted in favour of the motion: That the Parliament believes that the Draft Budget does not protect public services.

Kenneth Gibson MSP voted against the motion.

Jamie Greene MSP commented:

“The SNP’s draft budget proposal to cut North Ayrshire Council’s budget by over £5 million threatens our already strained public services. After successive Edinburgh-imposed cuts we’ve seen public toilets close, bin collections reduced, reductions in to funding for a wide variety of vital charitable and voluntary organisations and a host of cuts already just to balance the books. If this year’s current budget passes in its current form, there is no doubt that North Ayrshire residents will be further paying the price for SNP imposed cuts.”