Tayside and Central Scotland

Stirling Council budget motion defeated

Stirling Council has failed to set a budget after Labour councillors voted against their own amendment, causing the motion to be defeated.

The Labour group accused the SNP minority administration, which runs the council, of attempting to "steal" its alternative budget.

The SNP said Labour's claims were "farcical".

Labour councillors voted against their budget amendment after being told it was too late to withdraw it.

The SNP group's leader, Graham Houston, said the party had published its budget a week ahead of Thursday evening's meeting.

Mr Houston said Labour's amendment - which was presented as an alternative budget - had been "virtually identical" to the SNP's and branded the group as "shameless".

'Unholy alliance'

"Labour's amendment to the SNP's budget motion sought to change a fraction of the £214m budget, and as a minority administration, the SNP was prepared to accept this minor amendment in order to deliver a balanced budget for the people of Stirling, and deliver around 99% of our own proposals," he said.

"Incredibly, however, Labour then scrambled to withdraw their amendment and, on being told it was too late, proceeded to vote it down rather than support the SNP."

He added: "This was a night of shame for Labour which will live long in the memory. The people of Stirling deserve much, much better than this unholy Labour-Tory alliance."

But Labour group leader Corrie McChord said the SNP had only decided to accept the Labour amendment when it became clear the group would be defeated on its own budget and accused the administration of being in a "last ditch" attempt to hold onto power.

'Political crisis'

"The SNP attempt to avoid a vote on their budget by stealing Labour's backfired when the SNP's failed to gain the support across the council chamber," he said.

"The SNP have now accepted Labour's budget is the best for Stirling Council residents but I have consulted my colleagues and we are prepared to consult all political groups to ensure a legal budget is passed within the statutory timescales."

A Conservative amendment, which included a 1.25% cut to council tax was defeated. The party said it was still "willing to talk" to other councillors to try to alleviate the "political crisis".

Provost Fergus Wood said he had called the meeting to halt when it became clear no further progress could be made. He urged all the parties to have discussions so another meeting could be held at the "earliest opportunity".

By law, a budget must be set by 11 March.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites