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By G.A.Ponsonby
The Labour group at Stirling Council has been accused of threatening the pledge of a living wage for council workers after they joined with the Tories in order to block the SNP’s budget proposals.
Amongst the policies contained in the Lab/Tory alternative budget was a commitment to cut the council tax which will hit the local authority’s ability to fund services.

The SNP group runs a minority administration at the council and the vote was the second in two weeks that has seen Labour join the Conservatives.

Last week, amid chaotic scenes, Labour councillors voted against their own amendments in order to block the SNP budget.

The latest pact between Labour and the Conservatives was condemned by the SNP group who claimed that the cut will hit public services and threaten plans for a living wage.

The SNP group's Finance spokesman Councillor Scott Farmer claimed that Labour had abandoned the last of their principles in order to support a budget that he said would slash funding for council services for the Stirling area.

He said: “The 1 per cent tax cut they conceded so cheaply to the Tories will benefit the average Stirling household by a mere 23p per week, but means that the Council’s budget to deliver vital services will be slashed by £445,000 in the year to come.

“The inevitable cuts to services that will result will be a sorry reminder of Labour’s shame and the betrayal of those who voted for them.

“Stirling’s Labour turkeys have voted for Christmas. Let’s see how their deal with the Tory devil goes down with the voters of Stirling in May.”

The council tax cut was supported by the Stirling Labour group despite senior members of the party attacking the SNP’s five year freeze.

Speaking in December last year Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont attacked a freeze and claimed it was 'reckless' and should be scrapped.

When Deputy to Iain Gray, Ms Lamont said: "It looks like the SNP is asking the housing industry and local communities to pay the price to protect its own party political priorities, like the centrally imposed Council Tax freeze."

Labour’s Finance Spokesman, Richard Baker, said last September: "They [SNP] are freezing the council tax, awarding Local Government a settlement which is a real terms cut of over £700 million over the Spending Review period, while at the same time instructing councils to meet the SNP’s election pledges.  The result will be huge cuts to local services, particularly in education and social work."

Labour's Local Government spokesman Michael McMahon has said a Council Tax freeze equals cuts: "The Council Tax freeze means that Councils have been forced to make cuts that they know will damage local services."

Leader of Glasgow Council Gordon Matheson called for a rise in council tax in August 2010 claiming a freeze meant “brutal” cuts that threatened public services.  The leader of the Labour group said that to cut an existing council budget would be “vindictive”.

Also critical of continuing the freeze was Labour leader of Cosla, Pat Watters, who claimed people would not welcome any freeze that harmed public services.

Local Government Minister and SNP Business Convener Derek MacKay said that Labour’s attacks on the council tax freeze were now “completely shattered”.

"Never again can Labour say that Scotland's local authorities have had anything but the best possible settlement from the Scottish Government if they think this tax cut is a responsible one.” he said and added:

"Labour have put a short term pact with the Tories ahead of delivering a living wage, breakfast clubs and local transport improvements.”

The council tax freeze was funded by the Scottish Government who awarded local authorities a more enhanced funding package.  Any reduction in council tax will mean that council’s budget shrinks accordingly, with no extra funding from central government.

Labour group leader Corrie McChord rejected claims that the party's amendment was "imprudent".

"In the last two or three years we have supported cuts in council tax because it had grown more than in other areas of Scotland" he said.


# clootie 2012-02-24 19:39
Would be better with the music from the twighlight zone playing in the background.

Even the die hard generational Labour supporters must see through this one.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-24 19:47
Speaking in December last year Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont attacked a freeze and claimed it was 'reckless' and should be scrapped.

Well if a freeze was reckless what does that make a council tax cut?

The result will be huge cuts to local services, particularly in education and social work."

Yo! Baker boy! If a Council Tax freeze will, in your pathetic view, result to huge cuts in local services what on earth will a council tax cut result in?

What is going to be cut under this budget that would not have been cut if you had supported your own amendment on Monday!
# Wee-Scamp 2012-02-24 19:49
Let's hope the good people of Stirling recognise the duplicity of both Labour and Tories and sling them out on their sorry rear ends come the elections.
# oldnat 2012-02-24 20:34
To be fair to the Tories, a tax cut and consequent reduction in services is their philosophy. While most Scots don't agree their ideas, it is a political argument that they are free to make.

They must be delighted to have cemented NuNuLab even more deeply into that philosophy.
# Robert Louis 2012-02-25 09:15
I agree. The Tories did what they state they would do. That fact that Labour were literally skewered going along with them, beggars belief.

Labour in Scotland really do seem to be in self destruct mode. This silly budget decision will come back to haunt them.

Strategically, a very dumb move.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-24 19:55
It seems no matter whether it is Independence or Local elections the unionist parties are all running around like headless chickens. Never a day seems to go by without yet another infantile outer body experience comes out of the mouths of some nincompoop unionist politician.

I want to say that they (unionists) have all lost the plot. Unfortunately as each day passes it is becoming ever more clearer that they, collectively or individually, neverhad the plot to begin with!
# Hirta 2012-02-24 20:39
Another ConLab pact. Desperate.
# mato21 2012-02-24 20:39
If the council tax in Stirling, is so high, I think they said 6th highest in Scotland, they also must blame labour as there has been a freeze since the SNP came to government All rises took place prior to that
# Legerwood 2012-02-24 20:40
Labour group leader Corrie McChord rejected claims that the party's amendment was "imprudent".

"In the last two or three years we have supported cuts in council tax because it had grown more than in other areas of Scotland" he said.

In the "LAST TWO OR THREE YEARS" the Council Tax was Frozen. There have been no rises no cuts. Frozen - static no change. Which planet is this man on?

The Council Tax in Stirling was certainly one of the highest in Scotland and going up year on year when LABOUR were in power!

I live in the Stiling Council area. When I heard this and saw by how much the Council's income was reduced my first thought was 'How many jobs will be lost? How many care assistants? How many classroom assistants?'

My second thought was: 'This money could have been used to give a pay increase to the lowest paid workers.'

labour are a disgrace. They would rather play politics for party-political advantage than engage constructively in making things better for the people they are supposed to represent.

Labour always sacrifices the interests of the people if they think there is some advantage in it for them. Labour's self-interest always comes first.
# Hing em high 2012-02-24 20:49
A grand coalition is slowly taking effect, ConLibLab or LabConLib, whatever. A name is needed for this reptile.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-24 21:25
How about cheats or con-artists Hing em? :D
# weegie38 2012-02-24 23:40
Quoting Hing em high:
A grand coalition is slowly taking effect, ConLibLab or LabConLib, whatever. A name is needed for this reptile.

There's at least 2 such anti-SNP coalitions in Scottish councils. Angus is ran by a Con/Lab/LD/Ind coalition, whilst Falkirk has a Con/Lab/Ind coalition.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-24 23:41
For now weegie.

Their days are numbered!
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-25 09:19
It wasn't that long ago that I got shuffled off to pre-moderationland for stating that I was a proud weegie.... I'm pleased to see that a bout of common sense has broken out. ;)
# Holebender 2012-02-25 11:17
Quoting Hing em high:
A grand coalition is slowly taking effect, ConLibLab or LabConLib, whatever. A name is needed for this reptile.

# Exile 2012-02-25 16:53
A 'grand' coalition? Surely a shoddy coalition? Doesn't seem anything particularly grand about it to me.
# Vincent McDee 2012-02-24 21:23
You took it from my keyboard Legerwood.

Frozen does not grow, or diminish, is static. But try to explain that to a labour tory supporter.

Or is it a Tory's labour supporter?

When someone in Smith House realizes the macro "own goal" a reduction in CT is going to do to their opposition to the CT going to be a bababoumbah!

It doesn't matter. After the May election there aren't going to be many Councils in Scotland without an SNP administration. (3 out of 32 is my highly calculated guess, taking into consideration latest research)

And in most cases it will not be shared with other party.
# alicmurray 2012-02-24 21:38
Where are the unions? Why are they not screaming blue murder at this latest piece of idiocy by Labour. Labour should not be punishing the poor just to get back at the SNP has any of them got any decency left?
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-24 21:40
I think they are still trying to recover from the shock!
# Hing em high 2012-02-24 22:26
I think the Union memberships need to have a close and an immediate look at thier leaders. It is clear that some of them are not representing them very well if representing them at all.
# Holebender 2012-02-25 11:20
Typical Labour then.
# proudscot 2012-02-24 22:42
Labour's mindless hatred of the SNP is so visceral that if Nicola Sturgeon announced that SNP funding for the NHS in Scotland had resulted in a cure for cancer, a Labour spokesperson would be quoted in the Daily RECORD "accusing" the SNP of making MacMillan nurses redundant!

[The site team are currently looking at ways in which to enhance the quality of debate and comment on the site. We would ask that posters refrain from using inappropriate terms to describe the Daily Record.]
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-24 22:45
As has been posted numerous times in the past, Labour don't case about the people of Scotland all they care about is themselves and maintaining their snouts in the trough!
# Dougie Douglas 2012-02-25 00:00
Proudscot can you lay-off using that description of the Daily Record please?

It is appearing in these comment boards more and more often along with the far more offensive 'Daily Retard'.

These terms are out of order in more than one way:

Describing the Daily Record in such a pejorative fashion means by extension it's readers are rectums/retards also - they are a franchise we are trying to win over - you don't win over people by abusing them.

Secondly if our opponents want to propagate the abusive cybernat myth they can point at comments such as yours and declare 'there you go'.

Lastly (but not in reference to your comment) it is highly offensive to people that may be described as being 'retarded'. As a father of a child with cerebral palsy I am deeply offended by the use of this term in these comments boards.

To belittle our opponents is counter-productive, to belittle those with disabilities is completely out of order.

Mods - can this be sorted out please?
# clootie 2012-02-25 08:43
Dougie Douglas

- hold on!

I don't use those terms myself but not for one moment did I consider them aimed at readers - in the same way that I do not consider the comments about the BBC to be aimed at those watching it.

The insults are directed at the bias and distortion of the media vehicle.

Most people do not buy a daily newspaper for it's political coverage. They still assume that the are reading the news. They assume good journalism still exists.
# Dougie Douglas 2012-02-25 09:23
A newspaper and it's readers should be regarded as a community.

I think we can safely say that the readers of Newsnet (like the pair of us) broadly agree with it's political slant. If someone started firing of at Newsnet saying it was uber-nationalistic nonsense both you and I would defend it - because as readers and commentators we are an extension of it, we are part of it's community.

I accept that less political publications like the Record are not consumed primarily for their political input, none the less we should stay clear of name calling.

We need to play the man and not the ball. Whilst the intention may be to insult the publication it too easy for others to misconstrue this as a criticism of the readers.

Surely you know enough about the modus operandi of our unionist chums to stay well clear of giving them any sort ammunition?
# Exile 2012-02-25 17:00
Do you not mean 'play the ball, not the man'?
# Fungus 2012-02-25 08:47
Well said
# Exile 2012-02-25 16:59
I fail to see how abusing the paper equates to abusing its readers. I've bought it on numerous occasions, and I don't feel personally abused by the R words.
# tartanfever 2012-02-25 08:53
[The site team are currently looking at ways in which to enhance the quality of debate and comment on the site. We would ask that posters refrain from using inappropriate terms to describe the Daily Record.]

Yes, thank you mods - but will we still be allowed to call the Scotsman the 'Hootsman', or will that be banned also ?

Coincidental that this crack down on calling the Daily Record names comes when Joan McAlpine signs up to do a column for them ?
# Dougie Douglas 2012-02-25 09:25
That's completely different tartanfever.

# Exile 2012-02-25 16:57
Inappropiate? Was it to do with mental developmental problems, or just part of human anatomy? I'm not quite sure what you're trying to achieve with this degree of sensitivity to colourful criticism, NNS.
# Wee-Scamp 2012-02-24 22:50
I understand this cut is going to save CT payers a whole £12 per annum..... but overall will cost the council close to £500k.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-24 22:53
Well I guess the cut is well worth it then. A WHOLE £12!
# mato21 2012-02-24 22:56
It will be the price of a decent loaf once a week

I'm sure the implementation of the living wage for the lowest paid would have been more of a help

What about all those well off folk the SNP are always helping with their freeze Will they be getting the cut too?
# Legerwood 2012-02-24 22:57
Probably about £20 for us. CT is £200 per month paid over 10 months so £2000.

But according to the Tory they interviewed it was supposed to be aboujt £160 if I have remembered correctly what he said.
# Jimbo 2012-02-24 22:54
Democracy in action!
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-24 22:56
Oh is that what they call shafting the electorate these days?
# rhymer 2012-02-24 22:56
If we are going to lose the council election let us
burn and destroy everything before we get kicked out
- Labour's disgusting new political strategy.
# Marga B 2012-02-24 23:44
But people know that Labour is against the council tax freeze, they've been screaming about it from the rooftops for years and is one of the reasons they lost the elections. Who will be fooled by this?

Or are they now true to Tory principles going to cut CT across Scotland and privatise services?
# maxstafford 2012-02-24 23:45
It's like a dying animal, biting at its own wounds.

# Arbroath1320 2012-02-24 23:48
I guess the May council elections can't come soon enough for them then, put them all out of their collective misery!
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-24 23:46
Or are they now true to Tory principles going to cut CT across Scotland and privatise services?

If they could Marga. Unfortunately for them we have an SNP government in charge so that aint gonna happen!
# Big Eye 2012-02-25 00:19
I have my FOI request ready seeking answers on the administrative cost of altering every council tax bill in Stirling District plus details of the cuts necessary to make up the shortfall.

I am sure the SNP local government candidates have been given a huge boost by this totally incompetent Tory and Labour coalition who have loosed off both barrels into each other in the last couple of weeks. I would suggest the SNP supply the replacement ammunition so they are well stocked for more of the same.

Well done Derek Mackay for being so quick of the Mark explaining how this move holes Labour below the waterline all over Scotland.
# Big Eye 2012-02-25 00:23
Dougie Douglas

I agree entirely with your comments and thank you for making them.
# Hamish100 2012-02-25 00:40
Each Labour and Tory candidate standing for the May elections can now be asked if will also reduce their council budgets based on Stirling and with the inevitable reduction in council services.
# Old Smokey 2012-02-25 01:24
This is actually quite a disgusting ploy by Labour. Their thinking is this;
If they loose control of the council to the SNP (that is the SNP get an controlling mjority) the thinking is that teh SNP will scrap the 1% reduction, to which they will scream that 'the SNP are increasing your rates'
and of course this will be played out on the BBC. If Labour manage to win control of the council, the thinking will be to quietly scrap the 1% reduction on the grounds of it affecting the poor (or pick any Labour excuse you want), but it will be done in a manner to attract least attention and of course no mention on the BBC. That lasies and gentlemen is what they are about
# derek 2012-02-25 01:36
Old smokey, no surprise? politicians can be the most dubious people on this planet and I expect things like this to only increase over the next couple of years. However within the rough and tumble and the tax notion i'd say it's a pretty good time to regenerate the local income tax debate, if council tax is to be lowered then why not scrap it and replace it with a fairer tax?
# Ready to Start 2012-02-25 08:24
Counter SSE on London's referendum consultation
Deadline: Responses need to be in by Friday, 9 March, 2012.

Address: By letter you can send your response to - Referendum Consultation, Scotland Office, 1 Melville Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7HW.

Email: reply@scotlando

Outcome: The UK government says a summary of responses will be published on the Scotland Office website following completion of the consultation.
# Vincent McDee 2012-02-25 08:53
Why do I so strongly suspect, that summary of responses has already been written?

Is a truly sad state of affairs when a public office we all pay for, can not be trusted.

Shame on them.

PS: And I'm quite sure the reporting of the summary by the BBC Pathetic Quay, is making the sixth or seventh draft by now, till they get it perfect.
# DonaldMhor 2012-02-25 08:51
Labour group leader Corrie McChord rejected claims that the party's amendment was "imprudent".

"In the last two or three years we have supported cuts in council tax because it had grown more than in other areas of Scotland" he said.

_______________ _______________ ___________

There is nothing there that makes any sense what ever as there has been a council tax freeze in place in the last two or three years, so how can it have grown more than in other areas?
# Roll_On_2011 2012-02-25 08:51

I note that Cllr. Pat Watters has retired as president of COSLA…. Does anybody know who his replacement will be?
# Old Smokey 2012-02-25 08:55
O/T Just caught the tail end of an interview on this mornings 'Newsweek Scotland'
Derek Bateman was talking to David Martin the Labour MEP and Paul H Scott.
David Martin was peddling the idea that Scotland would have to apply to join the EU and was quoting a statement from Romano Prodi, in which Prodi states that 'that any newly independent region would have to make a fresh application to join the EU' The inference that Scotland is just a region of the UK and that the UK would remain as is. This isnt new as this was stated in 2004 (
Paul H Scott on the other hand was stateing that Scotland far from being a region of the UK is an integral Country of the UK and that Scotland was quite a successful country before the UK was set up by the treaty of union and that independence would mean the complete dissalution of the UK and the 2 consituant parts of the UK, that is Scotland and England would have successor state status. Paul Scott's view is correct and is shared by myself and would suspect may of you.
What I found rich, was the fact that David Martin, reputed to be a Scot, thinks his country is mearly a region and should be treated as such. What I also found galling was Derek Bateman towing the BBC line, in stating that perhaps there should be a definitve ruling, in other words the doubt that Scotland is indeed a country and possibly just a region.
I wuold hope that NNS have an article on this to be discussed further
# Old Smokey 2012-02-25 08:59
Just to add, Paul H Scott is Paul Henderson Scott - more background here
# tartanfever 2012-02-25 09:08
Wholly agree OS, personally I think many see Bateman as a beacon of light at the BBC - and while he may be a respite in the storm of unionist clap trap at BBC Scotland - I never really agreed with this. When you do get the peddling of myths, about the status of the country you were born in and you live in and show such little knowledge of our history, especially something as basic as the Treaty of Union and it's implications as this Labour MEP puts forth - then it is time to discredit them once and for all. Bateman will never do that.

Why doesn't anyone in the political arena bring up the Treaty of union ?

As much as Labour and the unionists ignore it, so do the SNP - (as in this case where it could be considered a useful tool as too describing Scotland's sovereignty and standing)

If people are allowed to go onto shows and peddle a huge myth about our standing as a country without recourse from the presenter, then thats just a sham. Bateman is a moderate with no teeth.
# Fungus 2012-02-25 08:56
IMO the Westminster government has no right to be consulting the people of Scotland on a referendum. Replying to them just gives them a false legitimacy which they will use to try and cheat on this referendum as they did in the 1979 one.

Make your points on the Scottish government consultation and let Westminster know that they will not be allowed to influence us this time round.
# Ready to Start 2012-02-25 08:57
Liked this post in Scotsman..To-day is Kuwait Separation day when it got independence from the UK in 1961............... in the Autumn of 1960 BP and the Union Oil and Gas Company warned that that there was only a few years of oil left in Kuwait and the prospect of independence would result in no foreign investment and that Kuwait needed to remain part of the UK in order to prosper............................. the World Bank figures for 2010 puts Kuwait as the 5th richest nation based on GDP per Capita the UK is in 20th place......................................if SSE has so little confidence in Scotland why should Scottish householders continue to contribute to their high energy bills?
# Legerwood 2012-02-25 11:54
The SSE in its statement did not say it had 'little confidence' in an independent Scotland.

You can read the full statement here:

The SSE just made some points that any business would make about needing clarity about the form of an independent Scotland. The FM in his interview on BBC Reporting Scotland News last night provided some of that.
# mato21 2012-02-25 12:28
Sorry if this has been posted From the Herald Unions are not happy it seems
# tartanfever 2012-02-25 21:27
Thanks for posting mato.

Wow, the unions are not happy about this. It's getting to the point where the unions are surely going to have to detach themselves from Labour and make that quite public.

Driving a wedge between the unions and labour up here could prove to be very effective come the referendum. If labour lose widely in the coming local elections, further pressure will surely be placed on the unions north of the border as labours grip and influence will have disappeared.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-25 21:41
The thing is tartan it is the unions that are keeping the Labour party afloat. (Be it London Labour or Scottish Labour.) Without the support of the unions Labour are sunk without trace!
# tartanfever 2012-02-25 21:45
Very true arb, it would a tough nut to crack. However, it's not impossible to start denting that relationship. It's becoming perfectly clear that the SNP policies are generally more supportive towards the less well off (tuition fees, prescriptions, elderly health care, council tax freeze and so on) that eventually when the pressure does mount on Lamont to name some policies and she is forced to side with Westminster Labour (who want to charge or charge more for all the things I've mentioned) - that would prove a great opportunity to make approaches to the unions.
Also, if the polls start showing more significant support for independence, then those very same unions are really going to have to consider their future in an independent Scotland.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-25 21:56
Thing is Tartan, I'm sure that now we have had an SNP government since 2007 there must be people in the hierarchy of the Scottish unions who are seeing what is happening. They surely must be pulling their hair out at the collective inaction of the leaders of the Scottish unions. Surely the union leaders in Scotland are not blind. They must see what is happening in Scotland and to her people with the continued "abuse" thrown towards them by the Lib/Dems, Tories and Labour parties. We keep saying "only time". I don't know why but I just "feel it in my water" that the time is approaching, and it is gathering speed!
# tartanfever 2012-02-25 22:01
Yep, your right. I wish i had numbers on how the union levy is getting on. How many union members still donate to labour and how many want to give to another party.

As well as the hierarchy becoming wise to the situation, I'm sure that many 'grass root' members are also questioning a union/labour relationship.

Hopefully as pressure mounts it will hit a critical tipping point and change will become inevitable.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-25 22:08
There is one phrase that springs to mind, although it might be construed as a bad choice of words.

Perhaps what we need is an Arab Spring sort of action to happen within the union movement. Hell we could probably call it a Union Spring! :D
# Begbie 2012-02-25 16:38
Im certain if SSE are worried about making an investment there will be other companies falling over themselves to invest in an independent scotland. SSE = scaremongering on the london executives behalf

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