My most recent piece on the proposed budget cuts can be read here. This piece also has a link to the budget papers issued late on Thursday but the link is shown again here: Public reports pack Thursday 08-Oct-2015 10.30 Policy and Resources Committee
Late yesterday, Michael Russell MSP, Mike MacKenzie MSP and Brendan O’Hara MP issued a joint press release. The link to this is shown below. They are absolutely correct in what they say and I am pleased this was issued when it was. Behind the scenes I understand efforts are in hand to try and ensure a united front against these harsh and unnecessary proposals from Cllr Walsh and his secret society. There are alternatives, I can assure you, and some of these have already been shown on this blog on several occasions. One alternative is provided at the link below and while it’s my view, and not a complete alternative, it is at least a start. It would also get rid of large amounts of waste within the current council setup and reintroduce councillor accountability to the people who elected them.
The key issues for me, in no particular order, are 1) minimising the number of job losses, 2) minimising the effect on services the public value and 3) minimising the economic impact.
You can combine points 1 and 3 by focussing attention on losing higher paid jobs if jobs have to go. The more people are paid, the lower the percentage of their income that’s spent in the local economy. The better off invest some of their money, they spend it on expensive holidays and they import cars and boats. The less well off, by contrast, spend almost all of their money in the local economy. If you lose one post at £60k, you would need to lose 4 posts at £15k to gain the same saving but not only are 4 people affected, all of their combined £60k is probably spent locally so the negative impact on the local economy is greater. You have to ensure the less well off in our society are protected as much as you can.
I have to say at this point that the origin of these cuts is Westminster. They are the austerity freaks. The people who voted No last year also voted Yes to austerity because an independent Scotland would have been able to take a more prudent and compassionate approach to public finances. Even if there were cuts in an independent Scotland, at the very least they would have been our decisions alone and not cuts forced on us by a government that we did not vote for.
The current proposals from Walsh (a prominent No voter) are aimed at the less well off. There is no other way of putting it. Here is the link to the press release from our 2 MSPs and our MP: