MSP calls for honesty in local government after Labour's ‘gross exaggeration’ of Dumfries and Galloway job losses

Joan McAlpine MSP has called for honesty in local government after a freedom of information (FOI) request showed that Labour's claims of job losses in the Council were grossly exaggerated. 

SNP member Ms McAlpine submitted the FOIs in response to claims made by Council Leader Ronnie Nicholson that more than 400 jobs were at risk after last year’s local government budget was agreed. 

The figures obtained show that between January and November 2016 the Council actually increased its staff by 472. 

The MSP said the figures – which showed 189 workers had taken voluntary redundancy, but 661 workers had been recruited – ‘fly in the face’ of claims by the Council leader that budget cuts would result in significant job losses.

The FOI request also showed that there had been no compulsory redundancies at the Council in 2016. 

Commenting, Ms McAlpine said: 

“As we are fast approaching another budget, it is time that we put some honesty back into local government. 

“Ever since last year’s budget The Labour council leadership has tried to frighten people with threats of huge job losses at the Council. 

“But these numbers show this simply isn’t the case – and in fact staff recruitment increased. 

“It’s great news that there has not been a single compulsory redundancy - following SNP government policy.”

Budget constraints  imposed upon the Scottish Government by Westminster were backed by most Labour MPs who voted to back the Tory's public spending cap. 

With the SNP committed to giving the NHS above inflation rises, other areas of public expenditure are squeezed.

Ms McAlpine added:

"Maybe it’s time Labour joined us in calling for the Tories to end their failed austerity experiment.

"Labour threatened council job losses last year,  hoping people would back their plan to tax lower earners, basically making the poor pay for Tory cuts.  But those threats were ignored when Scotland rejected Labour in the Scottish Parliament election.

"Now we see that Labour's threats in Dumfries and Galloway were empty threats. The people will surely judge them for that in this year's council elections."

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