An Audit Scotland report into North Ayrshire Council highlights the local authority will face significant cuts to its finances over the next three years as a result of reduced funding from the SNP Scottish Government. The Nationalist’s claim they have no option but to pass-on cuts imposed by the Tory-Lib Dem Government in London, an argument disputed by the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP).
The Audit Scotland analysis shows that spending cuts allocated to local government by the SNP are 4.2 per cent for 2012/13, increasing to 9.0 per cent in 2013/14 and rising still further to 11.3 per cent for 2014/15. The report also warns that “continuing to realise efficiencies will become more challenging in all councils over the longer term,” and that “it is clear the outlook for public spending for the period 2012/13 to 2014/15 remains very challenging.”
According the national audit body, “The high level figures for local government, announced by the Scottish Government recently, indicate that significant budget reductions will be required in these years.”
However, the North Ayrshire Branch of Scottish Socialist Party argues the local Council and the SNP Scottish Government “should be putting the needs and interests of local people before those of Tory-Lib Dem millionaires in London.”
Campbell Martin of the SSP said, “Alex Salmond recently told David Cameron to keep his nose out of Scottish affairs when the Tory Prime Minister commented on the SNP’s plans for an independence referendum.
“Salmond is right, of course. Cameron has no mandate from Scotland. His party finished third in Scotland at the last Westminster Election and his coalition partners, the Lib Dems, were fourth. But the people of Scotland must wonder why Salmond gets on his high-horse about a referendum, only to cave-in and meekly accept Cameron’s savage cuts to public spending in Scotland.”
Mr Martin, a former SNP MSP and councillor in North Ayrshire, added, “Both the SNP Government in Edinburgh and the Labour administration of North Ayrshire Council should tell Cameron he has no mandate for cuts. They should set budgets that meet the needs of the people, and they should tell the Tories and Liberal democrats in London to return to us the £1.3billion they have slashed from Scottish funding.”
Campbell Martin concluded, “The reality is there would be no need for any cuts if the super-wealthy actually paid their fair-share in taxation. Even just here in Scotland, if the richest 100 people paid a modest 10 per cent increase in tax, we could generate an additional £1.6billion.
“It’s time politicians started putting people before profit and stood-up to the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition that is actively destroying lives and communities, including right here in North Ayrshire.”