Friday, February 02, 2007



The Liberals on Renfrewshire Council (three members) have often been accused of putting forward a 'three ward budget' covering the issues only in their own wards, would today be the day they changed?

Give them their due they did actually do a lot of work and present a budget (more than can be said for the SNP) although the content did not deserve very much praise. I don't think that it is reasonable to suggest that programmes aimed at helping the most vulnerable in our society should be cut, and stopped in some cases, it turns out that the Liberals do. Among their cuts are ...

Reduction in music and inclusion services
Cutting the Parenting Project (RAMPS)
Axing 12 homelink workers
Discontinuing the Sports Development Service
Axing 5 business support officers for schools
'Procurement efficiencies in Adult supported living provision'

The majority of the above are fairly self explanatory and on one page alone I counted the axing of 19 jobs, that is only the jobs they have specified! The main issue is that they are targeting the education, support and health of some of the most vulnerable in our community, the children.

Cutting inclusion services? Cutting the Home School Link workers? The home school link is extremely well thought of and has won national awards yet the Liberals want to strip the service. They did want to spend £100,000 on youth sports activities yet they are scrapping the sports development service, it doesn't quite add up does it?



OK it turns out that the Paisley Daily Express made a wee mistake and did not print the notice for the Saturday surgeries happening tomorrow morning, mine being among them, so just in case there is a surgery tomorrow morning between 10am and 12pm in Paisley Grammar.



There were a few things that I wanted to highlight regarding the meeting that has just finished, discussing the budget process. The Labour Group have spent the last nine months discussing the budget and setting our priorities, we produced a well thought out budget, the SNP put up three amendments which did not total EVEN the length of a page of A4.

The SNP wanted to wait! The reason? Because they know that they cannot formulate a better budget than the one presented, their suggestion go back and ask for more money, no position on what to do with the money we have been given. Opposition members suggested that the SNP would not be able to balance the budget without making cuts, and Cllr Harkins Leader of the Council pointed out that the SNP were abdicating their responsibility.

Cllr Kenny on the summing up of his presentation pointed out that the SNP nationally are suggesting that if elected that they will freeze Council tax for two years, if this is true, why did the SNP not prove it by formulating a budget on this basis and presenting it today?
Cllr Kenny also pointed to the upgrade of the Lagoon Lesiure Centre, the biggest ever investment in our schools and the new Elderly Care homes as the Labour Administrations strongest achievements.

Cllr Tommy Williams Deputy Leader of the Council comended the budget and pointed out that as a Council...

'we are nothing without the people who deliver the service.'

That the Council had a reputation second to none in Scotland, and that the Council is leading the way in Social Work opening the three new care homes but also the respite care unit in Glenburn which will be opened soon.

OK to the Important bit, the Council tax rise this year will be a below inflation rise of 1.9% and the rent increase will be 2.5%
. The Liberals suggested 2.5% for the Council tax and as stated above the SNP didn't make a suggestion, for rents the SNP suggested using more of the working balances and increasing rents 2%. This means an increase of £22 per year, for this projects such as New Town Centre wardens, upgrades to the Paisley Town Hall, Renfrew and Johnstone Town Centre improvements, and upgrading of the Glenburn and Hunterhill community centres. Anyone wanting the full details of the budget should contact their local Councillor.

Thursday, February 01, 2007



Apart from the spat outlined below, the Full Council meeting today was pretty uneventful. On the agenda item on Scottish Water, Cllr McKay advised that more money needed to be invested in Scottish Water -lets see if that is in the Local or National SNP Budget plans?- they suggested that the storms which hit the UK as a whole were badly handled by Scottish Water, it was pointed out that more investment would be excellent but that the storms were severe and affected the whole Country, had the storms that hit this year hit Renfrewshire ten years ago before the Labour Controlled council invested in the Flood Prevention works, there is no doubt that Thousands of people would have been put out of their homes. As it was only a handful of people were unable to stay at home, during storm conditions which are said to happen only once in every eighty years.

We do need to improve the investment in Scottish Water, we also need to look at the issues that arose from the recent flooding, and the Labour amendment covered these issues, I am proud to be part of a group which takes these issues so seriously maybe part of the problem is that the Labour Group have not been blowing their own trumpet, well check in here for future information on our achievements.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007



This week the Council has two Full Council meetings, the ordinary meeting which has not long finished, and the budget meeting scheduled for Friday. Watch this space for an update on the budget meeting tomorrow but for this post I will concentrate on this morning's meeting.

On the item regarding the formation of the Independent Group on the Council, two ex SNP Councillor's one of whom is currently suspended by the Standards Commission, the proposal was to have the group allocated two boards, the Regulatory Functions board (of which Cllr Martin was a member) and the Scrutiny Board.

Cllr Martin took exception to being offered these boards and suggested no one really wanted to go on them, it has been widely acknowledge that the SNP went in a huff when they didn't get the Deputy Convener post for the Scrutiny board and as such didn't bother turning up to any of the meetings (although it doesn't stop them trying to amend the reports when they come to the Full Council), Cllr's Vassie and Martin were never on this board but it seems don't want to be either. As for the Regulatory Functions Board Cllr Martin was on this board although his attendance was around 22% until late last year the SNP replaced him with Cllr McGuiness. Despite Cllr Martin's protestations that both Cllr Vasie and he had excellent attendance records the reality is very different.

Cllr Martin pretty much agreed with the SNP on most things this morning, no great surprise there then, but what was interesting was the 'lovers spat' between the Independents and the SNP, he went as far as suggesting that the SNP were out to get rid of him before he jumped allegations about his attendance being doctored were abound! More to follow no doubt!



I write this post in the knowledge that I will be slammed by some for it! Big Brother has finished and the evident bullying that took place is now the topic of many conversations from the train to the broadsheet pages and the radio. However there is a wider theme here, not bullying in the Big Brother House, but online!

There are those that simply slag off others for their own gratification, there are those who send anonymous mail both snail and email of a most vile nature, there are those who think calling you names is OK behaviour! To those people and I believe you know who you are, I pose this challenge, try (just for a change) creating an argument on the issues, try putting your point across in a logical and respectful manner (that means no swearing). If you do this, I may not agree with you but I will respect your beliefs until you do, you are no better than the school yard bully.



Last night I was fortunate enough to be invited to go see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with my sister in Edinburgh, and it was excellent. I was interested to see how they were going to do a lot of it including the flying car! I was not disappointed, the car flew and you could not tell how it was done! The principles included Joe McFadden, was not sure how this would go as I had never heard him sing before, but he is actually very good, the kids were great but, nothing compares to the car!

There are still tickets available, the only negative comment that I would make is that the tickets are VERY expensive and as we were in the balcony we were quite far away from the stage and the seat were very small and had practically no leg room!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I noticed in the Herald this afternoon that Henry McLeish has suggested that Free Personal Care is well funded. He suggested allegedly that the Scottish Executive funding given to 'some' council's has been redirected to other services. Just in case anyone in Renfrewshire thinks that this is the case in our Local Authority I had to put a wee note on here to advise that it is not!

Sometime ago this was discussed at the Full Council meeting, the Liberal Democrat Leader Eileen appeared to suggest this also and I pointed out that this was not the case, so just in case it comes up AGAIN! Also interesting to note the Scottish Parliament's Health Committee work done on this issue as well, maybe someone could forward it to Mr McLeish.


Please note all postings on this blog are of a personal nature and do not reflect the opinions of either Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Labour Party or Renfrewshire Labour Group. NB No annonymous comments will be published on this blog if you have something to say have the courage to identify yourself.