Reacting to the Argyll and Bute Administration budget yesterday Michael Russell MSP and Brendan O’Hara MP have praised efforts of the SNP council group who’s alternative budget would have avoided compulsory redundancies.
The Parliamentarians have also praised the Community groups, parent councils and others who campaigned against the salami slicing of vital budgets proposed by the administration towards the end of last year.
Commenting on the process Argyll and Bute SNP MSP Michael Russell said
“ In the end the budget as passed by the 19 Tory, Lib Dem, Labour and Independent councillors who backed Dick Walsh will lead to job losses and unacceptable cuts to services. That was avoidable and the failure of those councillors to back the SNP alternative budget will cause suffering throughout the area.
However, strenuous efforts by communities and the opposition did force Dick Walsh and his administration to withdraw some of the most harmful proposals and to seek savings in areas such as councillor expenses, which originally the administration was not going to touch.
I am also pleased that as a result of the hard work by John Swinney and the Scottish Government and efforts that I and my colleagues have been making over the past three months the administration has agreed to start on the long overdue process of transforming and decentralising services. Work will now commence on putting together a rural regeneration package with the Scottish Government and I am happy to continue to support that process.”
Brendan O’Hara, SNP MP for Argyll and Bute added
“Argyll and Bute would have been much better served by all the councillors backing the alternative budget proposed by the SNP Council Group. The Administration budget will cut deeply into communities and services across the area.
None the less our constructive work with the Scottish Government in trying to get the council to change and prepare for the future now appears to be taking route and I will continue to support that process.
I am also pleased that the SNP council group has committed itself and the party to work with other opposition groups in order to push forward an agenda to change which gives hope for a better future after the council elections next year.”