Council leader to step down after SNP loses budget vote

Proposals put forward by Dumfries and Galloway convener Stephen Thompson's party failed to get enough support.

Dumfries and Galloway Council leader to step down after SNP loses budget vote Stephen Thomson/FB

The SNP leader of Dumfries and Galloway council is to step down after losing a budget vote.

The SNP-Independent administration did not get enough support for its financial plans which would have increased council tax by 6.5% and invested more in cost of living initiatives.

Instead, the opposition Conservative budget proposals, including a council tax bump of 6%, were passed by 19 votes to 16, after councillors considered three different plans that had been tabled.

“We’d hoped to manage to get the votes to get our measured budget through given the various pressures and challenges,” Stephen Thompson said.

“On the day, our proposal didn’t get enough votes.

“The honourable thing to do, in my old-fashioned understanding, as convener, I felt it appropriate to step down.”

Councillor Thompson said it wouldn’t have been right to lead the opposition’s budget.

Negotiations to determine a new administration for the council are set to begin on Wednesday.

The Conservatives are the largest group with 17 councillors. This is followed by the SNP with 11, Labour with eight, and five independents. There are also one Lib Dem and one non-aligned councillor.

Councils across Scotland have set their budgets or are on the verge of doing so, including determining by how much to raise council tax.

Earlier this month, deputy first minister John Swinney announced local authorities would receive a last-minute funding boost of £100m thanks to a boost from Barnett consequentials and a forecasting error.

Swinney said part of the cash would be spent on a pay deal for non-teaching staff – many of whom went on strike last year.

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