SNP firebrand Nicola Sturgeon is at war
with some of Scotland’s biggest councils after they threatened court
action over imposed multi-million pound cuts. The Scottish leader faces
being hauled before a judge for allegedly excluding rebel councils from
formal talks on the financing of local government.
Labour councils are preparing to serve
Mrs Sturgeon with a judicial writ, claiming the Scottish independence
supporter has bypassed a quarter of the Scottish population by imposing
cuts to funding without entering into a discussion on the matter.
Glasgow, Aberdeen, South Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire, all of which
broke away from Cosla, Scotland’s main local government body, over
funding from Holyrood, said they had sought legal opinion and would take
the matter to the Court of Session unless ministers changed their
stance on negotiating with the four councils.
The government has said that while it is
required by law to have dialogue with councils it will only negotiate
with Cosla on council funding, including cash for health or
education.SNP insiders have also accused the local authorities of
wasting public money on “pointless legal action” instead of frontline
City Council, wrote a strongly worded letter to Mrs Sturgeon, accusing
her of post-Brexit political grandstanding at the expense of the
residents of the four areas, adding that her Glasgow’s Southside was
“seriously affected by your Government’s position”.
Renfrewshire Council, said: “The Government’s talks on the next funding
settlement have already begun without us and in these we expect some of
the biggest budget cuts ever seen.“If
she maintains her current plan to pass down these cuts without one
single meaningful conversation, she is effectively turning her back on
25 per cent of the population, including those in her own constituency.
“This is why we have sought independent
legal advice and after careful consideration we have grounds to serve
the First Minister and her Government with a judicial review writ at the
Court of Session in Edinburgh.” But one senior SNP source said: “If
these council leaders really want to have a genuine dialogue this is a
very odd way to go about it.
“These should be focusing their
attention on protecting frontline services instead of threatening to use
public money on pointless legal action.”
When the four councils broke away in
2014 to form the Scottish Local Government Partnership, Ms Laing argued
the new group would have the freedom to negotiate a better deal on
funding for council tax payers. SOURCE
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