SNP COUNCILLORS HAVE been accused of ‘living in cloud cuckoo land’ by members of the Independent/Tory Administration over their budget proposals.
Moray Council will meet to discuss one of their most hard-hitting budgets in years – coming on the back of an acrimonious battle over the Scottish Government freeze on Council Tax increases.
The SNP opposition group in Moray claimed to have identified millions of pounds in savings over and above those being proposed by the Administration – and published their list on proposals less than 24 hours before the crunch meeting.
However, last night the Council Leader, Stewart Cree, pointed to a ‘lack of any detail’ in the SNP proposals, which he said was blue-sky thinking that few in Moray could have any faith in.
He said: “SNP members have outlined these huge savings but have offered no detail on how they can be achieved. Some of these plans – such as cutting £820,000 from social care, would require redundancies that could also be expensive.
“No one should have any faith in this kind of blue-sky thinking, £820,000 is a huge amount and you cannot cut that much from any service without harming it. Health and Social Care needs more money, not less – I cannot believe that anyone would suggest withdrawing funding from it.”
The SNP proposals received support, however, from a former Labour Councillor who left the local authority and subsequently joined the SNP, Barry Jarvis.
Responding to questions on the insideMoray social media page, Mr Jarvis pointing out that any proposals made by the SNP will have been with the assistance of Council officials.
He said: “All of these proposals will have been discussed with relevant finance folk to ensure that they are robust and stand up to scrutiny, in my experience the finance team do not hold back if they think that you are over egging how much you can get out of a proposal.
“Things like the redesign of the management structure are things that are long overdue, Social work has as far as I can remember never really been taken on so it is possible there are things in there that can be shuffled and money can be found. That’s one of the reasons I found it odd that that sort of thing had not been looked at before.”
Mr Jarvis admitted that jobs could be affected by the SNP proposals – which is why they may appear vague: “One of the issues with these proposals much like others is that there will be a certain amount of vagueness with how they are described if there is the possibility they might affect specific jobs.
“The year that I prepared a budget I had identified a number of areas where I felt that the council could reduce and was asked to put them under restructuring as opposed to doing away with them.”