Politicians reflect after budget chaos

A LANGSIDE councillor has called for Glasgow city council’s leader to stand down after Labour’s budget passed by just two votes.

James Dornan claimed Gordon Matheson has “lost control of the Labour group and the last remaining shreds of his credibility as a leader”.

The Labour administration at Glasgow city council were left teetering on the edge as seven former Labour councillors — Irfan Rabbani, Tommy Morrison, William O’Rourke, Stephen Dornan, Andy Muir, Anne Marie Millar and Ruth Black — voted against the budget

The administration’s budget was voted through by 39 of the parties’ councillors and one independent.

Sick councillors were brought to the chambers by taxi to secure the victory and a trio of councillors who voted against the budget will be suspended, according to a Labour party spokesman.

The 38 who voted against the budget supported an amendment which detailed plans for a council tax freeze, £7 million pounds worth of efficiency savings and investment in a school building programme.

The approved Labour budget includes a council tax freeze and a raid on the council’s reserves to allow for a £12 million investment in roads, £2 million earmarked to tackle youth unemployment and £710,000 for more enforcement officers.

Councillor Dornan — who is also the SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart — continued: “This incompetent and incomplete budget is highlighted by the fact that they claim the very next day to be going ahead with a programme to ensure every primary school in Glasgow is rebuilt or refurbished, despite the fact that this was not mentioned anywhere in their budget.

“This is a desperate budget from a dying regime and one that could only be forced through following reports of bullying and intimidation of councillors”.

Councillor Matheson defended the administration’s budget: “We have had to be bold, we have had to be innovative and we have only succeeded because years of effective and prudent stewardship have put Glasgow in the best possible shape to meet these challenges.

“With the proportion of our revenues controlled by government rising and our funding falling harder and faster than the national average, we have had to struggle to protect frontline services”.

Pollokshields councillor David Meikle described Labour’s budget as “preserving a party in turmoil”.

“The alternative Budget the opposition produced was about standing up for Glasgow. I am therefore disappointed we failed to win the vote.

“This result is a major set back for Labour and ensures that May’s election could see the end of Labour rule in Glasgow”.