The budget deal struck by the SNP and Scottish Greens does not stop austerity, tackle poverty or redistribute wealth or power, Labour MSP Neil Bibby has said.
Mr Bibby said that for the second year running, Green MSPs have backed the Scottish Government budget which, he claims, will leave Renfrewshire Councils’ lifeline services squeezed.
He calls the deal ‘a backroom stitch-up’ by the Greens and Derek Mackay and the budget fails to fund a proper pay rise for Renfrewshire Council staff and fails to tackle child poverty.
West of Scotland MSP Neil Bibby said: “The shoddy deal by the Greens to shore up the minority SNP government, is bad news for Renfrewshire.
“The money they claim to have wrangled from the SNP is a drop in the ocean when we know that Council’s need £545million just to stand still, when 23% of children are living in poverty in Renfrewshire, and when local public service workers need a proper pay rise.
“I could not support a budget which allows poverty to deepen and inequalities to widen in Renfrewshire and will leave lifeline local council services at risk”.
“The radical alternative put forward by Labour would have redistributed power and wealth, saved lifeline local services in Renfrewshire, helped tackle child poverty and allowed for an additional injection of cash of £100million for the NHS.
“A budget that tinkers around the edges from the SNP and Greens fails the people of Renfrewshire.”
West of Scotland Green MSP Ross Greer hitback at Mr Bibby’s comments, he said: “Over the last two years the Green MSPs have put a stop to ten million pounds worth of cuts to Renfrewshire Council service as part of three hundred and thirty million pounds of council cuts across the country we have halted. On top of that, this year we ensured far more public sector workers got a 3% pay rise in line with inflation, rather than the 2% under the government’s proposals, we secured two million more for work tackling fuel poverty, another two million pound fund for local rail projects and more – and that is all in the second stage of negotiations.
“This year, in the first stage we made huge progress on progressive taxation, giving low earners a tax cut and having those on the highest salaries pay a bit more to fund our public services. It’s no wonder we’ve won praise from the STUC, WWF and association of Scotland’s local councils.
“This is what happens when you elect Green MSPs serious about delivering for our communities. Unfortunately, Labour were the only party who refused to engage with the budget process at all, submitting no proposals despite being repeatedly asked to and every other opposition party offering something to the discussion. Instead, they pulled a stunt at the eleventh hour, claiming their back of a napkin soundbites were serious policies and relying on a lack of scrutiny to get away with it.
“I was elected to deliver for my constituents rather than grandstand and I hope Labour colleagues will one day realise they were elected to do the same.”
Tom Arthur, SNP MSP for Renfrewshire South, said: “The Scottish Government has delivered a budget which will see 7 in 10 taxpayers pay less tax than they currently do. Our NHS will receive an extra £400 million and our schools will receive £120 million. In addition, this budget will deliver for our local authorities with an additional £3.1 million for East Renfrewshire Council and a further £5.2 million for Renfrewshire Council. This is a credible budget delivered by the Scottish Government, which protects public services and makes tax fairer.”