The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has called on the First Minister to halt her party’s plans to press ahead with half a billion pounds’ worth of cuts to council budgets as local authorities up and down the country consider taking on the SNP’s council tax freeze.
Pressing the First Minister in Parliament today today Mr Rennie said: “The Conservative Party is proposing an 18% increase in council tax in Moray. Putting to one side the contradictions in Conservative policy surely this shows the enormous pressure councils across Scotland are under.
“The £500million cut to council budgets will hit schools. The £500million cut is a choice of the SNP Government. So will the First Minister review that decision today?
“Even if Moray increase the council tax by just £1 the First Minister will hit them with a £1million penalty. That will hit schools, nurseries and council services. Will she commit today to lift the threat of that £1million fine?”
Speaking after his questioning Mr Rennie added: “The First Minister seems to think that she has treated Scottish councils reasonably and fairly. Are we talking about the same country?
“Moray is only the first to consider taking on the SNP’s council tax freeze. Many more Scottish councils are being forced to think about it too. John Swinney must have known this kind of reaction was inevitable as soon as he announced his £500m cuts.
“Teachers are striking, children from poorer backgrounds are missing out and nursery education targets have been missed. But the First Minister is still refusing to consider plans to protect these services. SNP cuts to council budgets have to stop now.”