Labour Councillors Branded 'Frauds' by SNP in Falkirk

Labour members intending to attend a STUC march against Westminster Tory cuts to be held in Glasgow on 23 October were described as “frauds” by the SNP members of the council.

The Nationalists had sought to commit the council to supporting the TUC’s alternative strategy outlined at the recent TUC conference but were against when Labour and Tory members combined to defeat the SNP motion and distance the council Administration from the Trade Union Movement.

During the debate SNP leader, David Alexander said,

“The current financial crisis is not being caused by an explosion of public spending but by a drastic drop in central government income.

The way to rectify this is not to cut but to invest in the economy and to bring forward a fair taxation system

For example, it is estimated that the UK Treasury are losing out to the tune of £25billion pounds per year through legal loopholes left deliberately to help the rich get richer.

It is estimated that around £70billion is lost in illegal tax avoidance and yet New Labour cut more than 25,000 Revenue and Customs jobs, including many here in Falkirk now the Tories are going down the same route as New Labour.

What we are seeing from both the Tory / Liberal Administration in London and the New Labour / Tory Administration in Falkirk Council are cuts that hit the poorest hardest.

While the three main London parties fall over themselves to cut back on public services the TUC campaign to protect jobs and services has shone like a beacon in the darkness.

However, Falkirk Council’s Labour Group’s unanimous decision not to support the TUC’s campaign was an act of betrayal of not only Falkirk Council staff but the communities being decimated by the cuts.

Some Labour members (Craig R Martin) urged members to attend the STUC rally against the cuts before voting against the STUC campaign. Such double standards demonstrate how fraudulent New Labour’s position is in terms of not only their support of Tory cuts but their formal alliance with David Cameron’s Tory Party within Falkirk Council.”

SNP Motion

Members are invited to note the current spending in this financial year.

Members also agree that the cuts proposed by the current Conservative / Liberal Government will have a detrimental effect on not only the provision of essential services to the
most vulnerable within our community but also the wider local economy.

Members therefore agree to support the TUC’s “Alternative Strategy” and calls on local MSP’s and MP’s to join the campaign against the cuts.

Council also agrees to have regular reports on the progress of the campaign against the Conservative led cuts.

SNP Councillors were buoyed by the news that the devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had signed a joint declaration pledging to fight the cuts.

Said Cllr Alexander,

“It appears that the only opposition to the current Tory / Liberal governments cuts are coming from the Celtic nations rather than the Labour Party, the official opposition in name only.”

Angus MacDonald Calls for Fair Play on CAB Funding

Grangemouth Councillor Angus MacDonald, who is also standing at the SNP’s candidate at the forthcoming Scottish Parliament elections, yesterday (Wednesday) called on the ruling Tory/Labour/Independent administration on Falkirk Council not to cut any further the money provided to the three Citizen’s Advice Bureaux operating in Falkirk district.

Speaking at the Full Council meeting during a debate on the Single Outcome Agreement 2009/11, Councillor MacDonald made a specific plea that the ruling Administration and the Corporate Management Team, made up of all the Council’s Directors, should not reduce any further the amount of funding given to the CAB.

Councillor MacDonald said:

“I call on the ruling administration and the Corporate Management Team to ensure there is no further reduction in funds paid to the CAB. Some local elected Members, including yourself Provost, recently attended the AGM of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (Grangemouth & Bo’ness) and saw the good work going on there. We also see that during 2009/10 £49 million of debt has been renegotiated, with over 330 benefit checks completed and over 135 debt cases supported in Falkirk district. Clients have also accessed £740,000 in benefit claims.

“Given that the current economic crisis will without doubt impact on demand for the services of the CAB, we must ensure that there is no further erosion of funding for this service. I make no apology for cherry-picking as this service is worth every penny of support, and urge the ruling administration to look favourably on this service when deciding the final budget allocations later in the year.”

Angus MacDonald welcomes reprieve for Charlotte Dundas replica

Falkirk East Scottish Parliamentary candidate and Grangemouth SNP Councillor Angus MacDonald has welcomed a decision by Falkirk Council’s Leisure, Tourism and Community Committee to pursue a final attempt at establishing a project that would preserve the replica of the Charlotte Dundas ship as a monument.

The replica hull of the world’s first navigable steamship has been lying in storage for a number of years at Grangemouth docks, the Falkirk Wheel and now at MacKay’s boatyard in Arbroath. Attempts were made to include the ship in the plans for the Helix, however funding was not available. Attempts were also made to secure Heritage Lottery funding however, as the hull is a replica it did not qualify.cdreplica

Council officers have looked at a number of other options including transfer of ownership to the Scottish Maritime Museum however that was not possible on the grounds of cost. It has not been possible to identify an alternative potential owner. Other options include:

  • completing the original project at an estimated cost of £350,000
  • leaving the hull at the dockyard in Arbroath at an annual cost of £7,200,
  • retain and preserve the ship at a cost of £116,000 plus annual running costs of £18,000
  • destruction and replacement of the replica with a new memorial to be incorporated in the regenerated Grangemouth Town Centre

Welcoming the latest development Grangemouth SNP Councillor Angus MacDonald said:

“I am pleased that the committee has opted to look at a final attempt to preserve the replica as a monument. While this is not the original ship, many Portonians have an attachment to the replica as it is a reminder of Grangemouth’s proud maritime history and its contribution to the industrial revolution. The Charlotte Dundas helped put Grangemouth on the map and Portonians are rightly proud of that fact.”

“I am also encouraged to see the suggestion of the creation of a new memorial to the ship and its creator William Symington, which would be a high-profile public art commission and could be integrated into the regeneration of Grangemouth Town Centre.”

There are still a number of options to pursue with a further report coming to Councillors later in the year.

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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