Councils are being forced to make the cuts and then to take the blame for them.
Councillor Kevin Keenan
7 July 2011
Local government is always an easy target when the Scottish Government in Edinburgh wants to give the impression that they are always intent on lowering taxes but at the same time always claiming to be able to provide increased quality public services as well.
Recently, the SNP have been demanding that the UK Government devolve the administration of corporation tax in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament with the intention of lowering tax levels on businesses to the same level as Ireland.
The UK Government Scotland Office has estimated that this would create £2.6 billion black hole in Scotland's budget.
To balance the books, public spending in Scotland would need to be cut by the SNP.
This would inevitably have a disastrous knock-on effect for local councils, their workforce and the quality of the services they can provide for the public.
All would suffer.
About the same time, the Scottish Parliament's own information department released its own estimate of another SNP black hole valued at £3 billion.
That's the cost of the SNP's vote-seeking 5 year council tax freeze.
It was made during the election campaign and will now have to be paid for by further large cuts in council services and jobs.
"Cuts" is a word the SNP don't want to use , so they prefer instead to use the term , "efficiency savings".
Most councils will tell you that the SNP's "efficiency savings" don't take account of, for example, factors such as the extra demand pressure for council services because of the ever-increasing numbers of elderly people in the population who need caring services from the council.
NESTA , the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, in their report "Radical Scotland" state that :
"Without radical reform the costs of providing current levels of
services in Scotland are set to rise by £27 billion over the next 15
years, due in particular to an ageing society and the prevalence of
certain ill-health conditions. In this same period, the Scottish
Government will have £42 billion less to spend. "
Government Ministers find "efficiency savings" politically useful.
They can pass down these "efficiency savings" of millions of pounds of cuts in spending to be made to local councils , as well direct the responsibility for the decisions taken for these unwelcome cuts on the councils, and for the consequences of these cuts in every street in every town and city.
In this way, politicians at a national level hope that councils at a local level will be blamed by the public for the cuts while they, the national politicians, emerge unscathed.
In response to this approach of councils being forced to make the cuts and then to take the blame for them, councillors should be standing up for their city, not staying quiet for the sake of the government party.
However, this is not happening.
Instead there is blind party loyalty from
Dundee’s SNP administration councillors as they deliver these cuts with
the support of the former Labour Lord Provost.