Labour slams MSP’s silence over ‘shameful’ budget cuts

editorial image

The Western Isles Labour Party has attacked the “shameful” treatment of the islands by the Scottish Government over the funding of council services.

Figures published by the Scottish Parliament’s research centre detail that the Western Isles has suffered the most extreme cuts in funding over the past five years.

It leaves Comhairle nan Eilean Siar £504 worse off for every man, woman and child in the Western Isles than was the case in 2013-14.

Constituency chairman Matt Bruce said: “We are paying a heavy price for having an MSP who will always put party before constituency.

“It is shameful that Mr Allan has failed to fight the Western Isles corner in the face of such extreme treatment”.

The Scottish Parliament research shows that local authorities across Scotland have suffered revenue cuts that are more than five times more severe than those experienced by the Scottish Government itself.

While the Scottish Government’s revenue decreased by only 1.3 per cent between 2013-14 and 2017-18s, they have cut local council revenue by 7.1 per cent, which equates to £747 million.

Mr Bruce added: “If local government had been treated proportionately by the Scottish Government, councils across Scotland would now have well over half a billion pounds more to spend on vital services.

“Instead, the SNP has used this money to fund its own stunts and centralising agenda”.

He said that Mr Allan should be called to account for the “exceptionally harsh” treatment of the Western Isles.

Mr Bruce said: “It is no use blaming a formula because if the formula is producing such damaging results for a particular area, then it is the duty of Government to change the formula.

“It is unjust and perverse to punish an area for population decline when public services are so vital to retaining population.”

Mr Bruce said that the Scottish Parliament research findings had rightly excluded the costs of merging social care and health services.

“That is an administrative task which results from a Scottish Government policy. It was never meant to be at the expense of front-line services like education, home helps and road maintenance.”

He suggested that Comhairle nan Eilean Siar should invite the MSP to a public meeting in order to “pin down whether he supports his constituency having been more harshly treated than any other local government area in Scotland”.