North Lanarkshire councillors argue over who gets the spotlight

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Labour councillors have accused their SNP opposition of being publicity-seeking following a heated meeting at North Lanarkshire Council last week.

Following a stormy session of the council’s Policy and Strategy committee, depute leader Paul Kelly blasted the SNP group for complaining their photos were not being taken at council events.

Councillor Kelly said: “This pathetic outburst by the SNP shows that they are more interested in photo opportunities than serving the people of North Lanarkshire.

“Thursday’s committee had some important issues to be discussed, including the council’s ambitious Community Investment Fund, which will see new facilities for every community in North Lanarkshire.

“It also approved our child poverty and environmental strategies, which are of crucial importance to ensure that we tackle the poverty and inequality in North Lanarkshire whilst meeting our environmental obligations.

“Rather than spend time debating these vital issues, the SNP used the committee to complain that they weren’t getting enough photographs taken by the council.

“Residents will be rightly mystified that with services under pressure as a result of £260 million of cuts to our council from their Scottish Government, that the SNP’s priority appears to be publicity over the public.

“Taking their lead from their SNP colleagues in Edinburgh, it’s clear that the SNP are more interested in their own vanity than doing the day job.”

In response, SNP depute group leader Jordan Linden said: “The Labour Administration lambasting the SNP and stating that we are only interested in photo opportunities, couldn’t be any more ironic.

“It was the SNP Group during the Policy and Strategy Committee that tried to ensure local people were involved in developing North Lanarkshire’s Budget for the next three years – and it was Labour and Conservatives that voted against that.

“No wonder they are deploying the spin machine!

“The people of North Lanarkshire will see SNP councillors working hard, each and every day for their communities and sharing their work on many platforms.

“We will leave Labour to enjoy the exclusive glossy photo opportunities that they clearly want to keep for themselves.

“For the leadership of the Labour Administration to question the SNP’s scrutiny over committee items, frankly begs belief.

“Time and time again, it is the SNP who intensively question and scrutinise each and every council report; this committee was no different. We in the SNP were delighted to see a report on child poverty which outlined our council response to the ambitious Tackling Child Poverty Actions and Strategy by this SNP Scottish Government, delivering for the most vulnerable.

“That is what we in the SNP are committed to doing, that is us getting on with the day job, and that is us delivering for our communities – always.”

Neil McGrory - Local Democracy Reporting Service