Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Labour MSPs have just cost Scotland £1.8billion
Today, if you live in Scotland you might be interested to know that your Labour, Lib Dem and Green MSPs voted down a Scottish budget which included accepting an additional £1.8million settlement from our share of Westminster revenues.
Today, if you live in Glasgow you might be interested to know that your Labour, Lib Dem and Green MSPs voted against giving Glasgow an equivalent £205million. (Meantime the Labour run council claim their decision to close and / merge 25 schools and nurseries could save £3.7million. I dread to think how many more they'll want to shut now!)
Today, your Labour, Lib Dem and Green MSPs voted for something that could see council tax payers in Glasgow on average band D paying an additional £274.14 next year instead of a second year running tax freeze.
Live in Aberdeen? You could be paying up to £212 more.
Falkirk? £287 extra.
Edinburghers are getting off "lightly" - they'll only be paying another £169 next year!
Shetland? You might want to know that Tavish Scott's vote might just have cost you another £379 per year.
Rates of depression are high enough on Eilean Siar (Western Isles) so I won't tell you what they've done to you.
The problem is, you see, that parliamentary rules state if the budget does not go through, expenditure can continue as in the previous year but you don't get any planned increases in the block 'grant' from Westminster - and next year that's worth £1.8billion. Without it councils lose money and hiking up council tax is just one of the things they're going to have to do.
Small businesses are also likely to fall victim to this so all those businesses employing local people, struggling to hang on in there in the belief that their business rates will be slashed or cut altogether in this financial year, may have waited in vain.
The Labour Party know this. The Lib Dems know it. They apparently care not. It's more important to them to bring down the SNP government. I don't think they will bring us down and I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing for us as a party - after all, the mark of a government is in the way they deal with crises and I'm 100% confident John Swinney will deal with this well.
But that's hardly the point. The point is that council tax payers are now waiting to find out if they're going to get another Labour induced financial body blow and struggling businesses don't know if the lifeline they were depending on is going to be whipped away from them. A strain few of us need in these troubled times but in the game of politics, these things don't seem to matter.
If you want to know what you can do about it, how about you email your Labour MSP on email@example.com (eg firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell them what you think of their attempts today to stop Scotland getting the additional £1.8billion it so badly needs. Maybe if they think it'll affect their vote at the next election, they'll think twice about defeating the budget a second time.
If not ... watch this space. We live in interesting times.