Speaking after the publication of the SNP Government’s draft budget, North Ayrshire Labour leader Joe Cullinane said;

“Since the start of austerity in 2010 over £90m of cuts have been made to North Ayrshire Council’s budget and yet this year’s settlement is probably the worst to date.

“This is a shockingly bad budget for Local Government services, the workers who deliver those services and the communities who rely on them.

“And it is absolutely shameful that the SNP are manipulating funding for national policies to pull the wool over the public’s eyes to hide their cuts to local services.

“Not only does this SNP budget represent a cut of 2.3%, £6.2million in cash terms, in North Ayrshire Council’s core revenue funding but it provides no financial support for inflationary pressures on services, demographic pressures and crucially not a single penny towards pay for Council workers. All in all the budget gap is around £22.5m.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. The Scottish Parliament wasn’t fought for so it could be a conveyor belt for Tory austerity – it was fought for after years of Thatcher rule in order to offer a real alternative to the people of Scotland.

“Yet year after year the SNP have decided not only to manage Tory austerity but have made the political decision to dump the cuts onto Councils with the recent Accounts Commission report showing that the cuts to Council budgets from the SNP have been four times greater than the cut to the Scottish budget by the Tories.

“It is time the SNP stopped this timid managerial approach and instead used the powers of the Scottish Parliament to end austerity and invest in our public services.

“This budget is absolutely unacceptable to North Ayrshire Labour and we will be fighting for a fair deal over the coming weeks. No doubt our counterparts in the SNP will welcome this austerity budget, a budget that will oversee millions of pounds of cuts to the local services they were elected to deliver.”

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