Friday, February 15, 2013

City Council Budget 2013-14 : An opportunity missed

At yesterday's City Council Budget meeting :

* On the Capital Budget, I proposed not going ahead with yet more new council offices and instead proposed that it be spent on improving Dundee's roads and on further improving the city's primary schools.   Although I had the support of the Conservative, Independent and Labour members, the SNP administration voted this down.  I regret that, in voting through millions on new council offices over schools and better roads, this speaks volumes about the priorities of the SNP administration.

* On the Revenue Budget, I proposed scrapping the SNP education cuts that will result in increased class sizes in S1 and S2 English and Mathematics classes in five of our nine secondary schools.   My rather modest proposals (in terms of a £337m budget) to pay for this would have had no effect whatsoever on service provision but were opposed by the SNP and Labour failed to support them.    The SNP also opposed my proposal to give Fairer Scotland Funding to the West End Ward and the Ferry Ward and, again, Labour failed to support this.

There is a serious point to be made about Fairer Scotland funding.   The council allocates it in an arbitrary way - six wards benefit (with no weighting by size or poverty levels);  two wards get nothing, as if no social exclusion at all exists anywhere in the West End or Broughty Ferry.   Labour and SNP seem to fail to appreciate this point and are failing to stand up for the people of the West End and Broughty Ferry.

I have suggested to the SNP administration that allocating this funding by % of lowest income households per ward is the fair way to allocate these funds in the future.   The ball is now firmly in the SNP administration's court.

I will continue to campaign for fair funding for the West End, just as I have always done over the 12 years I have represented the West End on the City Council.