SNP councillors complain of 'disrespect' by council administration

Members were discussing the outcome of a public consultation.

SNP councillors complain of ‘disrespect’ by North Lanarkshire Council’s Labour administration Google Maps

SNP councillors have complained they were treated disrespectfully by North Lanarkshire Council’s Labour administration during a recent discussion on school transport eligibility.

Members were discussing the outcome of a public consultation on increasing the minimum distance requirement for pupils to qualify for free school transport.

The change, predicted to save the council £3.6m, was a major feature of the budget set earlier this year.

The SNP group attempted to move an amendment against implementing the change to mileage eligibility but were blocked by council leader and convener of the meeting Jim Logue, on the grounds that they had not presented costings for this.

SNP councillor Allan Stubbs argued that, as it is a three-year budget plan, the cost to stop the change could be found in years two and three so a costing would not be required at present, and members should not be agreeing a non-costed report either.

Councillor Stubbs then attempted to register his dissent and despite councillor Logue’s initial reluctance this was eventually agreed.

After the meeting councillor Stubbs said: “It appears that all that matters to the Labour group at NLC is cutting costs and putting children at risk. The SNP had put forward a balanced budget which was free from any school bus cuts, but the Labour/Tory pact rejected it rather than look at it in its entirety.

“Some may speculate that possibly councillor Logue did not want a vote to take place following the recent close run Labour leadership challenge that may have left him unsure of guaranteed support.

“The report noted that 94% of respondents did not agree with the change but given the voracity of the Council Leader’s argument, it appears that this does not matter.

“Yet again in North Lanarkshire, the SNP group is the only one standing up for the residents.”

In response, councillor Logue said: “At the February 2023 Budget Meeting, the SNP agreed to accept a saving of £3.6m in respect of pupil entitlement to School Transport.

“It is apparent that they now clearly wish to attempt to “hoodwink” residents that they did not support any alteration to the current school transport position.

“At the meeting, both Head of Legal and Financial Services reminded the SNP members that if they now wish to reverse their previous position, they would have to advise as to what alternative proposals they would introduce to make a saving of £3.6m.

“In the absence of this, North Lanarkshire Council would be operating without a legally balanced revenue budget position which would undoubtedly attract criticism from our External Auditors and Audit Scotland. They refused to advise of any other cuts that they would make and as such in the absence of this, they were clearly advised that they would not be in a position to propose a competent amendment.

“What we witnessed in the Chamber had all the hallmarks and behavioural traits which were so evident during the 84 days when the SNP ran the Council.

“A totally inability to make strategic decisions and constantly attempting to focus on non-financially sustainable short term populist policies. The lack of mature politics from the SNP Group and the behaviour of several SNP Councillors totally reinforces the generally shared view that the majority of residents are delighted that the SNP no longer run the Council, having previously mired this Council in a whole range of well publicised financial and sexual scandals. I would invite readers to watch a live stream link of the Policy & Strategy Committee. ”

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