An ongoing row over North Ayrshire Council’s recently-announced budget escalated this week with Labour councillors condemning proposed cuts as “horrendous”.
The claim was made by Labour Group Leader Peter McNamara (pictured above- left) in an article carried by Labour-supporting national newspaper the Daily Record. However, members of the council’s SNP administration immediately hit back, pointing-out Cllr McNamara and his Labour colleagues had voted for the budget and the measures it contained.
Ardrossan SNP councillor Tony Gurney (pictured above-right) said, “The action of Labour councillors is breathtaking in its insincerity. The fact they are complaining about actions they completely supported raises serious questions about their ability to properly engage with the governance of the council.”
North Ayrshire councillors met recently to agree a budget for the next 3 years, with senior officers identifying a further £19m of ‘savings’ would be required to balance the books. The SNP administration’s proposals to achieve the required financial reductions were supported by Labour councillors and the budget was passed.
However, within days of voting for the council budget, Ardrossan Labour councillor Peter McNamara told the Daily Record he believed the cuts he and his colleagues had supported were now, “impossible to bear in an advanced democracy”.
Reacting to Cllr McNamara’s comments in the national newspaper, Cllr Ruth Maguire, North Ayrshire’s SNP Cabinet member for Finance, said, “It is frankly ridiculous to claim to be against something when they went to a meeting and voted for it, yet that is exactly what Labour did. No alternative budget proposals were forthcoming and no amendments moved – not a single one. In fact, the budget was passed with the support of all the political parties on the council and the majority of the independent councillors, with just one abstaining.”
Cllr Maguire explained, “The SNP is opposed to the austerity cuts being enforced by the Westminster Government, cuts that Labour have, however, committed to continue.
“We all recognise the extremely challenging financial climate we operate in but we still have choices and mustn’t forget the considerable resources we are investing in North Ayrshire. The council will spend more than £320m delivering services and will invest more than £233m supporting regeneration in our schools and core infrastructure – roads, lighting and buildings.”
On the fact Labour supported SNP proposals at the recent budget meeting but then used a Labour-supporting national newspaper to launch an attack on the very same plans, Cllr Tony Gurney said, “Labour members seem oblivious to the hypocritical nature of their actions.”