Late last week, Stirling Council will met to decide the budget for the next financial year. The budget, as proposed by the ruling Tory/Labour coalition, seeked to make a number of cuts, including £658,000 from the Care budget for 2016/17.
The SNP amendment budget was fully costed and completely protects Care.
This come at a difficult time for local authorities across Scotland as cuts from Westminster have seen the Scottish budget reduced by 6% since 2007. Current UK Government proposals seek to reduce Scotland’s budget by a further 12.5% (for between the years 2010-2020).
Tory/Labour Leader, Councillor Johanna Boyd, has taken to social media a number of times to condemn a reduction in funding to local authorities from the Scottish Government – citing the cuts that her Administration have moved to make as “Swinney’s cuts”.
Commenting ahead of the budget, SNP Group Leader on Stirling Council, Cllr Scott Farmer said:
“These are hugely difficult times for local authorities across the country. The UK Government’s austerity agenda has meant that our services are taking the hit.
“However, the deeply cynical approach we have seen from the shameful Tory/Labour coalition here in Stirling will hurt our most vulnerable residents unnecessarily. To cut nearly £700,000 from the care budget is a heartless manoeuvre and will certainly impact on the delivery of an effective service.
“The SNP Group that I lead on Stirling Council have devised a fully costed alternative budget that doesn’t touch funding to care. Our priorities are to those who need support the most and, in contrast to the ruling Administration, we are focussed on protecting vulnerable people in need of care as well as safeguarding as many jobs on the Council as is financially possible.
“This has been a challenging exercise for Councillors, not just here in Stirling, but across the whole of Scotland, and no decision is taken lightly. However, it seems that the Tories and Labour here in Stirling are more focussed on scoring political points than doing the best for the people they are supposed to represent. People in care and the people of Stirling deserve so much better.”