HIGHLANDS and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston is demanding the minutes of financial discussions between the Scottish Government and Moray Council be made public.
It follows the announcement yesterday that the council are planning major reductions in local services, including the closure of libraries and swimming pools, increasing class sizes in schools, the end of the Active Schools programme and the loss of jobs.
The Conservative MSP, whose constituecnt includes Moray, has used Freedom of Information legislation to ask for records of meetings and communication between Moray Council and the Scottish Government.
Mr Halcro Johnston said: “Moray Council is in an untenable position, being expected to lump further cuts on top of millions of pounds of savings that are already in the pipeline.
“The SNP administration should be standing up for Moray and representing local people’s interests to the Scottish Government ahead of the council’s budget being finalised. And they should be able to count on the support of their SNP MSP to help them make their case.
“Unfortunately, publically at least, Moray’s SNP councillors have demonstrated that they are feart when it comes to opposing their SNP bosses in Edinburgh. Meanwhile, Richard Lochhead’s loyalty appears to be to his ministerial position and not to his constituents.
“While the SNP attempt to deflect and blame anyone and everyone, the simple fact is that the Scottish Government’s budget this year is increasing ahead of inflation.
That means that these large and damaging cuts to public services in Moray are a choice made by the SNP, who would rather spend money on their own pet projects than on the services that people here in Moray depend on.
“The SNP administration knows that millions of pounds of additional cuts will cause huge and irreversible damage to council services in Moray. It’s time they accepted that the problem is with the Scottish Government funding settlement and that the solution is to get on the phone to finance secretary Derek Mackay and fight Moray’s corner.”