ANGUS MACDONALD CALLS ON FALKIRK COUNCIL TO CLARIFY IF THEY SUPPORT FREE SCHOOL MEALS AND SMALL BUSINESS BONUS
Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:03
POLICY CONFUSION ON CHILDCARE, SCHOOL MEALS, BUSINESS RATES AND COUNCIL TAX
LABOUR UNDER PRESSURE FOLLOWING SHAMBOLIC WEEK IN PARLIAMENT
Falkirk East SNP MSP Angus MacDonald has called on Falkirk Council’s Labour/Tory administration to clarify whether it supports free school meals for Primary 1 to 3 school children, and if it has withdrawn its support for the Small Business Bonus, after a shambolic week that saw the party make a series of contradictory statements regarding vital policies affecting the people of Falkirk district.
Last week Labour's confusion spiralled out of control as the party's MSP politicians:
- Voted against the Scottish Governments extension of free school meals and confirmed that Labour would do not support free school meals for P1-P3’s despite the support of Child Poverty Action Group, the EIS, and trade unions
- Voted against increasing childcare provision in Scotland
- Suggested the Scottish Government should not have matched business rates in the UK at the same time as saying they don't agree with Scotland having higher rates than the rest of the UK.
- Said they would consider cutting the Small Business Bonus Scheme which helps over 92,000 businesses.
- Suggested raising household bills by hiking council tax but then denying they would increase the tax.
Commenting, Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said:
“I have written to the Leader of Falkirk Council, Councillor Craig Martin asking him to clarify if his Labour/Tory coalition have reneged on their support for the Small Business Support which was introduced by the SNP Government in Holyrood in 2008 and has been of enormous benefit to over 2000 small businesses the length and breadth of Falkirk district, from Bo’ness to Banknock.
“I’m also seeking clarification from the Council Leader regarding Labour’s position on free school meals for children in Primary 1 to Primary 3 given his party’s vote against the policy in Parliament last week.
"I have to ask, do Labour have any policies left? We've only been back in parliament for one week and already they've appeared to throw out five policies they once claimed to support - free school meals, extension of childcare, the council tax freeze, the small business bonus scheme and lower business rates.
"I therefore feel the people of Falkirk district deserve an explanation as to exactly what - if anything - Labour stand for in the new year.
"They say they support free school meals and the extension of childcare provision. But actions speak louder than words and by voting against these policies last week it's clear they cannot possibly support the measures.
"The people of Falkirk district deserve to know the truth - the mixed messages from Labour on business rates, the small business bonus scheme and council tax bills are unacceptable.
“I’m sure many Labour supporters will be as perplexed as me as to why Labour are arguing against free school meals which goes against what many individual Labour members believe is right.
"Labour's ducking and dodging on these issues underline how we cannot trust a word they say."