Joe Cullinane

Scottish Labour Councillor for Kilwinning

5th Pledge: Oppose austerity and local cuts

Austerity is a political choice which is punishing the poor, vulnerable and disabled for the mistakes and excesses of bankers.

It’s a choice that has meant millions of pounds of cuts to North Ayrshire. 

This year alone North Ayrshire Council’s budget was cut by almost £13million. 

When my SNP opponent, who is responsible for the Council’s budget, was asked if the Council had received a fair funding settlement she answered ‘yes’. And she has repeated that on numerous occasions. 

I will never accept that £13million of cuts to North Ayrshire is ‘fair’. 

Especially not when I know that it means cuts to Women’s Aid, Speech and Language Therapy, the closure of public toilets, the removal of community wardens, reduced library hours, the closure of Dreghorn dump, cuts to school support staff and hundreds of job losses. 

We simply need to stop the cuts. I have always opposed austerity and campaigned against the worst of the SNP’s councils cut. 

With the new powers of the Scottish Parliament we now have a chance to break from Tory austerity, to stop the cuts and instead invest in our people’s future. 

We can invest in the next generation’s education, in our NHS, our roads and other vital public services. 

Scottish Labour has an anti-austerity plan. We choose to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to end austerity rather than simply manage it. 

The tax plans of the main political parties standing at this election have been analysed by experts at the IPPR Scotland and the findings make it clear which party you should vote for if you value our public services. 

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It is no surprise that Ruth Davidson will adopt the tax policies of David Cameron and George Osborne. Despite the “nice Tory” image she tries to portray she is still a Tory. She has been happy to back the Bedroom Tax and other vicious policies of her party down south. 

However, the biggest disappointment at this election is Nicola Sturgeon. 

Last year she told everyone else in the UK that the SNP would stand against Tory austerity. She told us that the SNP would support a 50p tax rate on those earning over £150,000 a year. However, now that she has the powers to end austerity she refuses to use them. 

The IPPR Scotland figures above show that Scottish Labour will raise £900m per year more than the SNP over the next Parliament. It equates to over £3billion of a difference. That’s £3billion more invested in education, the NHS and other public services in comparison to £3billion more cuts with the SNP. 

And with Scottish Labour no one earning less than £20,000 a year today will pay a penny extra. 

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In fact with our plans to scrap the unfair Council Tax, which will benefit 80% of households, many families on the lowest incomes will be better off under Scottish Labour. 

Our plan is fair and progressive. It is the change that our community needs. 

If you value jobs and public services then vote for me and Scottish Labour.

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