Local MSP blames Labour debts for the current problems in South Lanarkshire
SLLC is currently engaged in a consultation process with residents, “to conduct a review of leisure and culture provision across South Lanarkshire”. This includes an online survey which is open to be completed until February 15th.
Ms McAllan has voiced concern about the adverse impact of these proposals on rural communities in Clydesdale, and is urging the Labour-led council to work with communities to seek alternative means for the facilities to remain functioning – including, if needed, via a community asset transfer. Ms McAllan has called on South Lanarkshire Council to explore all viable options.
Ms McAllan is concerned about the disproportionate impact on rural areas from these potential closures - with the number of proposed closures facing her rural Clydesdale constituency almost double the number in East Kilbride or Rutherglen/Cambuslang.
These proposed closures, and reduction in opening hours for other facilities, has been announced by the Labour-run council despite a proposed 6.6% increase to the council budget from the Scottish Government for 2024/25.
The legacy of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) debt, built up by the Labour-run South Lanarkshire Council, means South Lanarkshire faces the third largest PFI bill of all local authorities in Scotland. Last year alone, around £35million came out of the council budget to service this debt – removing significant available funds from the public purse.
Ms McAllan said: “Clydesdale constituents will be understandably shocked and disappointed by these proposals. As a rural constituency, many of these facilities are often the only community hall or facility local to these areas. They often serve multiple purposes in ours towns and villages and are key community assets.
“It is high time that the Labour-led council remembered that South Lanarkshire includes a vast swathes of rural area, with unique challenges and less access to alternative facilities. It is not acceptable that almost double the number of facilities face closure in Clydesdale (13 facilities), compared to East Kilbride (7) or Rutherglen/Cambuslang (5).
“In addition, a number of leisure and community facilities face reduced opening hours, which will mean less chance for constituents to use places such as swimming pools, the gym, or a number of halls.
“The SNP Scottish Government has proposed an above-inflation increase to South Lanarkshire Council for 2024/25 of 6.6%. However, the toxic legacy that Labour’s PFI deals have left South Lanarkshire Council continues to cost millions of pounds every year, removing vital funds.
“Labour’s reckless handling of our public finances continues to rob South Lanarkshire Council of funds which could be put towards delivering better local services.”
“I encourage everyone to make their views known via the consultation. ”