Just days after councillors from all parties on North Ayrshire Council passed a budget that will slash £23million from services to local communities, the leaders of Labour and the SNP on the Council have united to call for help in implementing a restructuring exercise designed to produce more ‘efficiency savings’ or cuts.
Cllr David O’Neill, Labour Leader of the Council, and his SNP counterpart, Cllr Matthew Brown, were jointly quoted in the national media asking the SNP Scottish Government to take a lead and show them how to amalgamate services across local authority boundaries, a move that, when implemented elsewhere, has led to staff redundancies and cuts to services.
The SNP’s Cllr Brown said, “If we wait for things to happen organically we'll be dead. The Scottish Government needs to publish a set of principles in terms of how and where reform should take place. They will have to be in contact with local government to see progress one way or another.”
Labour’s Cllr O’Neill was even clearer about what was being proposed, saying, “I'll not be surprised if after May's election there will be no more 'softly softly'. Any change is going to require courage to deliver because people will have things taken away from them.”
Reacting to Labour and the SNP joining forces for more cuts, the Scottish Socialist Party’s Campbell Martin said, “Everyone who attended last week’s Council budget meeting saw there was little difference between Labour and the SNP, they both supported cuts to services and jobs. Now they are not even pretending to be different. The united comments from David O’Neill and Matthew Brown show that if local people vote for Labour or the SNP at May’s Council Election, both parties will slash services even more.”
Mr Martin, who will contest the Ardrossan & Arran seat for the SSP at the Council Election, added, “Amalgamating services across Council boundaries and taking them even further away from North Ayrshire communities will not improve the actual service received by local people. Like the Tory-Lib Dem Government in London, Labour and the SNP on North Ayrshire Council are content to punish local communities by reducing the funding needed to provide quality services, and all to pay for bailing-out the spivs and speculators of the City of London.”
The Scottish Socialist Party lobbied and petitioned last week’s Council budget meeting, demanding councillors put first the interests of local people and refuse to implement more savage cuts to public spending and services. Commenting on the latest cuts agenda of Labour and SNP councillors, Campbell Martin said, “The ‘United Front For More Cuts’ shown by North Ayrshire Council’s Labour and SNP leaders should be taken as a warning by local people. Vote for either of these parties in May and they are determined to slash services even further.
“At last week’s Council budget meeting, the SSP was the only party standing shoulder-to-shoulder with local people and opposing cuts to jobs and services. At May’s Council Election we will also stand on a platform of ‘No Cuts’, unlike Labour, SNP, the Tories and Liberal Democrats whose only answer is to cut services more and more, and to punish local people in order to pay the debts of multi-millionaire bankers. It’s the bankers who should be paying the debts, not the people of North Ayrshire.”