Linda Fabiani tells South Lanarkshire Council: Stop the blame game and put local services first
South Lanarkshire-based SNP MSPs Linda Fabiani, Christina McKelvie and Aileen Campbell have urged the administration councillors and senior officials of South Lanarkshire Council to put an end to their public bickering of recent weeks and work to protect local services.
The three MSPs issued their joint statement ahead of a crucial executive meeting on Wednesday 20 October, which will look at options for making savings on the Council’s budget. They said:
“We are concerned that members of the administration of South Lanarkshire Council seem to be more interested in pursuing a blame game in the local and national media than in moving quickly to inform and reassure local people about the impact that recent financial and budgeting blunders will have on vital local services.
“Our constituents in South Lanarkshire deserve better than this. They want to know what their Council is going to do to protect schools and nurseries, care for elderly and disabled people, cultural and leisure activities and the many other services on which communities across South Lanarkshire rely. That should be the priority for elected members and officials alike.
“The Labour/Tory coalition that is in power in South Lanarkshire cannot abdicate responsibility. Simply not turning up to meetings to discuss the budget is not good enough. They must say now what their political priorities are and what they will do to protect frontline services.
“As South Lanarkshire MSPs, we are deeply disturbed by the package of cuts that is currently on the table and the impact that it would have on local jobs and services. Instead of genuinely looking at how the Council can run its services and headquarter functions more efficiently and effectively, the current proposals have taken the lazy option of cutting everything from community policing to lollipop men and women, closing nurseries and museums, and slapping extra charges on services from refuse uplifts to burials.
“If the current proposals go ahead, their biggest impact will be on South Lanarkshire’s most vulnerable citizens.
“There is a better way than this.
“There are a small number of proposals on the list that point to an alternative way forward, such as implementing a Home Care Reablement Service to help people regain the ability to care for themselves and live independently. That’s an idea that will not only help to save money, it also has the potential to actually improve the service and increase the benefits to users.
“The Council should use the opportunity of Wednesday’s meeting to launch a genuine effort to come up with more ideas like this, to redesign and improve services in order to deliver better outcomes for users and better value for the public purse. South Lanarkshire Council delivers some services very well and it should seek to learn from and build on its successes.
“The First Minister Alex Salmond has made it clear that the priority of the SNP Scottish Government will be to protect frontline jobs and services and the welfare of our communities from the cuts being imposed by Westminster. As SNP MSPs for the South Lanarkshire area, we urge the Council to join us in that endeavour.”