Parties squabble over cash rules

The Cumbernauld councillor who leads the SNP group on North Lanarkshire Council has welcomed a crunch decision to keep the authority’s membership of COSLA.

But Councillor Tom Johnston has also attacked his Labour rivals for denying local nationalist councillors a place in the organisation.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, formed by all 32 Scottish councils, effectively decides how individual areas get money from government to spend on vital services.

But tensions over how cash is allocated - and bitter rivalry between Labour and the SNP - have seen seven Labour councils threatening to quit.l

The crisis has sparked claims that COSLA could implode, leaving local areas to jockey for finance individually.

However North Lanarkshire has, crucially, decided to stay with the organisation - a move welcomed by opposition leader Tom Johnston.

However the Cumbernauld councillor has attacked the controlling Labour group for “grabbing” all six of the council’s place on COSLA while giving the SNP none.

He said: “This is in defiance of the spirit of the constitution of COSLA which states that delegates from each member Council should reflect the balance of parties on the council.

“The SNP should have two of the six places, if fairness was applied.

“Between them,North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire,Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire councils send 19 Labour and 1 Tory to COSLA.

“The 63 SNP councillors in these four authorities are completely ignored.”