This afternoon, a symphony of municipal slaughter was passed in North Ayrshire Council’s budget meeting. Pages and pages of unopposed, passed-on cuts were passed with nary a word of dissent from the elected.
West Scotland RISE lead candidate and Ayrshire SSP branch secretary, Colin Turbett comments :
“With minor criticism from Labour – who would rather the Scottish Government had raised taxes for everyone including workers, the SNP voted through their cuts budget in North Ayrshire today. Far from oppose, Labour put up a few very minor amendments that changed almost nothing. Again the present SNP administration did exactly what their Labour predecessors did before them.
“The absence of socialists in the debate arguing for defiance was desperate. We will need to get socialists onto North Ayrshire Council as local people who are still facing unemployment and insecurity, deserve better than this. A good vote to get RISE MSPs into Holyrood this May could seriously change the balance and this must be our immediate goal.”
West Scotland SSP organiser, Richie Venton was also present and writes:
“Vast numbers of Scots believed it when the SNP declared themselves the anti-austerity party in the 2015 elections, expressed through their landslide victory. Those who still believe that should pay a visit to North Ayrshire.
It’s an area with proud working class traditions of struggle, but is scarred by multiple deprivation, in part due to desertion by several multinationals in search of even richer profit margins abroad, and decimation by Thatcher’s Tory government in the ’80s.
As the biggest local employer, North Ayrshire Council has a duty to ‘stand up for this bit of Scotland’, to adapt an SNP slogan. But we have an SNP-led council, under an SNP Scottish government, passing on Tory-inspired cuts, without so much as a whisper of defiance or hint of resolve to protect local council workers and the communities depending on vital services.
Instead of defying Tory cuts, in turn devolved to the council by John Swinney and Irvine-born Nicola Sturgeon’s government, the SNP-led council is slashing nearly £10million off council spending.
They’re attacking council workers’ conditions; seeking volunteers for the lengthening dole queues from amongst classroom assistants, cleaning and catering staff; reducing services to vulnerable children and elderly people; reducing library hours, and wiping out the likes of road gritting in the depths of winter. And I never thought in doing the Tories’ dirty work that the SNP would take the task so literally, closing all local public toilets!
Council workers from UNISON, Unite and GMB joined the SSP and local RISE activists on today’s protest, demanding a No Cuts Budget.
Neither Labour nor SNP councillors have shown a willingness to take this courageous and principled stand, which underlines the need for socialist councillors who would combine with workers and communities in defying the cuts, demanding back some of the £millions stolen from North Ayrshire by Holyrood and Westminster governments. Council workers passing us during their lunch break readily signed our petition and bought the Scottish Socialist Voice arguing for a defiant alternative.”