Iain Gray MSP, Cllr Willie Innes and Cllr Shamin Akhtar joined other politicians, trade unionists and campaigners from across Scotland at yesterday’s Scottish Budget Rally outside the Scottish Parliament.

Organised by the Scottish Trade Union Congress and public sector unions, the rally demanded a fair settlement for local government to enable councils to protect vital services and give council staff a restorative pay rise next year.

Independent experts at the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) have confirmed that the SNP’s budget will mean a £319m real terms cut to councils.

Speaking after the rally, Iain Gray MSP said:

“Ahead of the Finance Secretary’s budget, I was pleased to join colleagues from across Scotland to back calls for a fair settlement for public services and those who deliver them for our communities, not least our teachers.

“Councils, who deliver many of these services have been badly treated in previous budgets, with the SNP government imposing cuts on them around four times higher than any cuts the government themselves might have faced in their own resources.

“The rally saw a large and loud demonstration by public sector trade unions demanding that the Scottish Government fund local services properly for the first time in years.

“Unfortunately, it’s clear that Mr Mackay has again failed to listen to these calls and instead simply passed on Tory austerity to our councils. We will continue to fight for fair funding for councils to protect vital local services .”

Cllr Willie Innes, Leader of the Council’s ruling Labour Group, said:

“The SNP Government has imposed swingeing cuts on East Lothian, leaving us £25m worse off over the last five years. This latest budget, which independent experts have confirmed means a real terms cut of £319m to councils’ core funding, leaves us facing further cuts in the years ahead.

“My Labour colleagues and I will continue to do all we can to protect local services and keep investing in our communities.”

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