Local MSP, Jackie Baillie, has revealed that another letter from the Scottish Government confirms that West Dunbartonshire Council received more than £200 million in funding from the budget last year. In addition, Kate Forbes MSP, Minister for Public Finance, highlights the additional £9.8million raised by the Council’s decision to raise Council Tax by 3%.
In a letter to a resident of West Dunbartonshire, in March this year, the Scottish Government stated that ‘In light of this increase in funding the Scottish Government does not accept that budget cuts, as you have described, were at all necessary.’
Following this letter being made public, West Dunbartonshire Council’s SNP leader claimed that the contents of the letter sent by a civil servant on behalf of the First Minister was a mistake. However, in response to these comments, a spokesperson for the First Minister told the Lennox Herald ‘The letter reflects the Scottish Government position.’
The further letter released by Jackie Baillie, from the Minister for Public Finance, reiterates the Scottish Government’s comments stating‘I can confirm that the information relating to West Dunbartonshire Council’s funding settlement for 2018-19, as reported in both instances, was factually correct.’
“Council Leader Jonathan McColl simply can’t mislead the public any longer. A government minister, not a spokesperson, has now confirmed that the Scottish Government is of the view that the funding allocation given to West Dunbartonshire was sufficient. The Minister has reiterated that the Scottish Government stands by its position that budget cuts were not necessary.
“The people of West Dunbartonshire deserve better than a Council Leader who refuses to properly fund the services that they need, even when his own government has said sufficient money was given to do so.
“His own party leader has called him out on his decision to make cuts locally and now another Government Minister has done the same. It’s time that he prioritised the needs of residents rather than making cuts that are not required.”
Councillor David McBride said:
“Jonathan McColl has been undermined already by the First Minister on cuts to the trade unions and Council funding. Now he accuses the First Minister of misleading the West Dunbartonshire public on cuts to services. Both politicians are SNP heavy weights and both can’t be right, it’s time the SNP locally removed this gaff prone embarrassment of a Council Leader”.