Thursday, 17 January 2013
As I indicated yesterday in an interview on Radio Tay News, I have criticised Dundee City Council's SNP ruling group for making all the wrong choices in terms of the cuts they are proposing in the City Council’s 2013/14 revenue budget.
I am particularly incensed that the SNP propose to axe the Friendly Bus sheltered shopping service that is a vital lifeline for elderly people in the West End and across the city. The SNP axing of the Friendly Bus reminds me of an earlier failed SNP policy of axing visiting PE and music instructors in our primary schools that they forced through last year.
In both cases, the overall saving is minimal in terms of the overall revenue budget, but the detrimental effect upon communities is large.
Perhaps if the SNP had saved more during the current year they would have more room for manoeuvre now. Their recent decision to have two new civic cars against opposition advice is a prime example of SNP waste. When Lord Provost Bob Duncan parks himself on the leather seats of his new luxury civic car, perhaps he can reflect on the fact that Dundee sheltered tenants and other pensioners will no longer have their bus service to help them go shopping.
Last year, I proposed to council transportation officers that they should register the Friendly Bus service with the Traffic Commissioners. As a registered service it would have provided an income stream through the concessionary travel scheme that would have helped keep the Friendly Bus sheltered shopping service as a financially viable service. The SNP administration has simply let a vital bus service for older citizens go to the wall. The SNP claim they will look at a service alternative. I will not hold my breath.
I do support one SNP cut – that of councillors having a reduced mileage rate on their expenses. I do not claim any expenses and never reclaim any mileage I do on council business. Perhaps instead of self-congratulating themselves on proposing a reduced mileage rate of 25p per mile for councillors, SNP councillors should follow the example of making no mileage claim at all.