Lanarkshire councillors protest cuts at Holyrood

Lanarkshire councillors protest council cuts at Holyrood
Lanarkshire councillors protest council cuts at Holyrood

Labour councillors from North and South Lanarkshire led a protest at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

Close to 200 people attended, including representatives of East Lothian, Inverclyde, Aberdeen and Edinburgh councils showing support for their Lanarkshire colleagues.

Despite many MSPs joining the protestors at the conclusion of First Minister’s question time all Government Ministers refused to meet them, including Nicola Sturgeon herself.

North Lanarkshire Council is facing £68 million worth of cuts this year, with South Lanarkshire facing £36 million, sure to have dire implications for a wide range of vital services and over 1,500 council employees facing an uncertain future.

Mossend and Holytown councillor Frank McNally was among the organisers of the protest.

He said: “For far too long, decisions taken in Edinburgh have forced deep cuts to North and South Lanarkshire Councils and councils across Scotland.

“I accept that the UK Government has cut the Scottish Government’s budget, that cannot be disputed, but while the Scottish Government’s budget has been cut by three per cent they are hitting councils with at six per cent cut in real terms.

“It is grossly unfair, it is disproportionate and it has to stop.

“Our councils do not want special treatment - far from it - we just want a fair funding settlement for our communities.”

South Lanarkshire Council depute leader Jackie Burns added: “South Lanarkshire Labour Group has been committed to fighting against the cuts to local government for many years. 

“We have had to reduce our level of services as a result of the SNP Government’s attack on local government.

“Social work, education and housing have experienced huge cuts and we have been working with our trade union colleagues to try and protect services.”

Central Scotland list MSP John Wilson was among those who met the protesting councillors.

He said: “The Scottish Government must work with councils to ensure that we do not lose yet another tranche of the Lanarkshire workforce.

“We cannot afford to see unemployment on this scale inflicted on our communities, and we cannot afford to see vulnerable people within our community lose access to vital services.”