Labour arrogance could cost region £1.577 million

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SNP Councillor and Acting Group Leader Andy Ferguson today (Thursday) accused the Labour Leader of Dumfries & Galloway Council Ronnie Nicholson of “arrogance and incompetence” as it emerged that his decision to rule an SNP motion to defer consideration of the Council’s budget in order to receive further information on the implications of the Scottish Government’s announcement last week on teacher numbers places at risk £1.577 million of Scottish Government funding.

SNP Councillors had moved that the Council’s budget setting be deferred until information could be provided to all groups, but this proposal was ruled incompetent by the Leader.

Cllr. Ferguson, who moved the motion to defer last Tuesday said:

“These figures are a total vindication of the SNP Group’s call to defer setting the Council’s budget until we has the fullest of information. Most Councils are setting their budgets today – we could easily have waited a week and redrafted budget proposals in light of this new information.

“Ronnie Nicholson’s arrogant refusal to consider this and his decision to rule the SNP proposal incompetent has exposed this Council to the risk that we stand to lose £1.577 million in Scottish Government funding if we don’t review what we are doing.

“The only incompetent decision last week was his – in refusing to defer business for a week. The potential implications of that are now becoming clear and his Administration’s budget is unravelling before his eyes.

“But our concerns go further. The day after this Council set its budget Ronnie Nicholson attended a COSLA Leaders meeting at which teacher numbers funding was discussed. I am writing to him to ask what position he took on behalf of this Council and what mandate he thought he had for that.”

Notes to Editors:

On Wednesday 4th February Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced a total package of £51 million in Scottish Government funding to support the maintenance of teacher numbers. Dumfries & Galloway Council’s share of the initial £41 million is £1.274 million. The Council’s share of the top-up £10 million is £303,000, giving a total of £1.577 million.