Regular readers of my blog will know I take a very simply view of life where I think matters are indeed simply. There tends to be a right and a wrong in most instances and nothing needs to take as long as bureaucrats seem to make them.
Thanks to some great work by Councillor Gordon McCaskill, local conservatives have discovered that Glasgow City Council owes East Renfrewshire Council a whole load of cash and simply aren't paying up because they don't feel like it. I press released this on Friday and copy this on my blog so everyone can see just how little Jim Murphy and the Labour Party are actually doing for the people of East Renfrewshire:
Glasgow City Council owes East Renfrewshire £600,000
Murphy inaction puts new special needs school on ice
Conservatives are calling on Labour led Glasgow City Council to return the £600,000 plus it owes East Renfrewshire Council Tax payers for services provided to people living in Glasgow. In particular the sum is owed for the provision of regular school education on placement requests and specialist schooling at Isobel Mair School for children with special needs.
East Renfrewshire Conservatives can reveal that a binding legal opinion was received by both Councils in December, but so far Glasgow has not returned the money (see notes to editors). As a result East Renfrewshire Council has had to postpone plans to build a new Isobel Mair School, which is one of only two schools in East Renfrewshire rated below B for structural condition.
Commenting on his findings Conservative Westminster candidate for East Renfrewshire, Richard Cook, said:
"Glasgow must pay up now so East Renfrewshire can build the new Isobel Mair School. For Glasgow to withhold this money is nothing short of scandalous.
"East Renfrewshire has a Labour MP, a Labour MSP and a Labour led council, but all continue to sit on their hands as their Labour colleagues in Glasgow withhold more than half a million pounds of East Renfrewshire taxpayers’ money.
"Instead of trying to manufacture political spats with the SNP and going on overseas junkets, East Renfrewshire’s MP and Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy should be fighting to get a fair deal from the Labour Party in Glasgow. Mr Murphy has had 3 months to use his influence to bring this stand-off to an end, but at the moment it seems he would rather be in China playing golf and taking boat trips to dinner with the great and the good.
"So the message to East Renfrewshire Labour is simple. Stop dithering, get this money from your Labour colleagues in Glasgow and give Isobel Mair pupils a new school now! It’s simply not acceptable for Labour in Glasgow to be bumping up its minimum wage to £7 per hour at the same time as it withholds money that would build a new school in East Renfrewshire for children with special needs."
Conservative Councillor for Netherlee, Stamperland and Williamwood, Gordon McCaskill, who has been working with Richard Cook on this investigation, added:
"I was aware that Glasgow’s Labour council had not paid us to educate their children for quite some time, but was not aware that the courts had found against them in December last year. Both councils kept that quiet! The money East Renfrewshire is owed would pay for the new Isobel Mair School, the building of which was postponed by the Labour led administration during this year’s budget process due to lack of funds.
"Isobel Mair School has a national reputation for excellence and I am not prepared to sit back and watch its pupils and staff suffer as a result of Glasgow City Council dragging its heels. This is Labour’s fiasco and it’s Labour’s job to bring it to an end, now."
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. East Renfrewshire Conservatives are able to release today details of a judgement passed down by Lord Penrose on 12th December 2008, in relation to the case in the Court of Session of East Renfrewshire District Council against Glasgow City Council. This opinion relates to monies due to East Renfrewshire over many years totalling more than £350,000. The remaining monies due to East Renfrewshire relate to legal costs and interest payments awarded to East Renfrewshire Council.
2. East Renfrewshire's Labour led Council rejected the Conservative Groups budget amendment to start building the new Isobel Mair School this year. This requires capital of £152,000 in the forthcoming financial year and £444,000 next year.