Protect public services

We all want good quality public services. The question is who pays for them?

At the moment, council budgets are 100 per cent controlled by the Scottish Government. Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney decide how much councils can spend.

So when I hear complaints about service reductions in education, care, roads or civic amenity sites then I have to ask two questions.

Who is cutting the budget which causes this problem and secondly who can do something about it?

In both cases the answer is the Scottish Government. On the second question, I know money is tight. But the Scottish Government has new powers over taxation.

That’s why Scottish Labour has proposed a 1p tax increase with protection for those earning less than £20,000. This would raise almost £500 million per year to protect vital public services like education and care.

Why shouldn’t a well paid person like me pay an extra £481 per year, and why shouldn’t Nicola Sturgeon pay an extra £1447 from her six-figure salary?

The reaction from the SNP has been nothing short of hysterical using Thatcherite language like “tax grabs”.

For some reason this so-called radical party is opposed to progressive taxation where the highest earners pay more to protect services. If we are not prepared to pay for vital public services on which we all rely, then we shouldn’t complain when they are cut.

A sporting hat-trick

I was delighted to hear that sports fans in Barrhead, Neilston and other areas in East Renfrewshire will benefit from a cash boost of more than a million pounds from sportscotland.

Our local kids will reap the benefits as the money will be used to encourage them to get active. East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust hope to get more youngsters to enjoy sport through their Active Schools programme as well as developing and supporting more Community Sport Hubs.

They also plan to encourage more people to volunteer as sports coaches, an official, or to help run sports clubs and we know what an important role these people who give up their own time play in a child’s life.

The Trust is doing a great job with loads of new developments like disability swimming lessons, a new gymnastics programme, more sports classes and I believe membership of the hubs is rising. We all know the benefits of staying active so this is a winner as far as I’m concerned.

Beat the litter bugs

Well done to the Neilston Hit Squad who collected eight bags of rubbish in one hour from the Main Street, Kirkstyle Lane and the High Street car park.

Litter isn’t just a visual problem, it also impacts on our health, the environment and the economy.

Each year we spend millions of pounds tackling litter.

If you’d like to do your bit to help keep Neilston litter free, you can join the Hit Squad on Sunday February 28, 2pm at The Bank.

One hour of your time can make a huge difference.