What Is Happening In Your Perth and Kinross Council Chambers?

Cllr. Henry Anderson

Cllr. Henry Anderson

Well, we now have had almost 2 years of Tory/Lib-Dem administration at Perth & Kinross Council.

The strategies and policies that they embarked upon are starting to be realised, and in my view are not good, and locally, even in an area such as Abernethy, the impacts will be filtering through sooner rather than later.

So what is happening in your Perth & Kinross Council Chambers?

Recently Conservative and Lib-Dem Councillors have trumpeted that under their Administration there will be no rise in the Instrumental Music Service fees. Yet this is untrue, as parents of IMS pupils will soon discover when their fees go up later this year and again in 2020. Is this what the public voted for? To be treated in this way?

To save the embarrassment of Tory/Lib-Dem Councillors, that have given assurances that the IMS would not have fee increases when in their budget an increase was clearly stated. The situation at the Full Council meeting of 24th April is to suspend standing orders and reverse their own decision to increase the fees on IMS. The only problem with that is the only way to square the 2019/20 budget without impacting on other budget commitments is to plunder the Council reserves. Let’s hope we have no unforeseen “big spend” required in the years left of the present Administration.

“The same Councillors have undertaken to close all our primary school production kitchens, losing 50 job opportunities and instead truck in frozen meals from Dundee. This wanton act of economic self-harm is unforgivable and begs the question why the Conservatives think Perth and Kinross the only mid-sized Council in Scotland that cannot feed its own kids?

“The school meals situation is now in crisis with Councillor Willie Wilson forced to state on STV news that the ‘final decision’ on closing the kitchens has not yet been taken, this despite the fact their recent budget relies upon following through on this cut. I hope we get a U-turn on this universally unpopular proposal to quell the public outcry and protect jobs and our local economy.

“Before the election the Conservatives were glorying in their planned Council Tax rises of 1% and even 0%. Yet now they are in power, they inflict a 4% Council Tax rise on households this year, next year and the following year – a cumulative 12.49% rise. The Tories complain about taxation in Scotland, yet when they get to make decisions they hike tax up more than anyone else. Their approach to Council Tax was so hypocritical that two of their own Councillors could not stomach it and stayed away from the pinnacle council budget meeting.”

In capital investment the Tories are all over the place too. They removed £8 million from Community Leisure priorities in Perth and Blairgowrie, subsequently U-turned, then put less than a million back in and have the temerity to call this a funding boost! The public need to be aware of their nonsense, and realise that the Tory Lib-Dems have decimated leisure facilities in Perth and Kinross which remain over £ 7million worse off following Tory and Lib-Dem cuts.

“The abject lack of vision or strategy in Perth & Kinross Council came to a head at the last Council meeting which descended into farce with Tory and Lib-Dem factions, who are meant to be in charge of the Council, shouting and talking over each other, a total collapse in order from the Chair, and one senior Tory Councillor complaining after a vote that they voted the wrong way and could they have another go!

Perth and Kinross Council is now completely without a plan or vision. The Tory/Lib-Dem administration is burning its way through the legacy plan and the substantial financial reserves they inherited from the previous Scottish National Party (SNP) Council and after two years there is nothing coming at the back of it. This is a disgrace and the voters in Perth and Kinross should be made aware that at local level, the Conservatives are making the same fist of administration as they do at Westminster.

from Councillor Henry Anderson, Scottish National Party, Ward 9 – Almond and Earn – 19 April 2019