Older folks stand up to SNP cuts

'This idea that the SNP are going to put an end to austerity is just nonsense.' Independent councillor for Montrose, David May. Angus Courier 18 December 2015.

After the SNP's Finance Minister, John Swinney, announced the Scottish budget settlement in mid December 2015, the SNP led Angus Council cut $6.5 million from its budget. Despite the SNP's false claims that it would protect the vulnerable in Scotland from 'Tory' austerity they have gone on to propose cuts that target the vulnerable directly.

However the older generations and their families of the small Angus towns have organised and fought back. From Edzell, Montrose, Fettercairn, Kirriemuir, Forfar and Brechin they have confronted SNP councillors who wanted to cut back the Tenant Support Officers that help older folks in their homes and Sheltered Housing. Laundry charges, critical for dealing with issues of continence, were to be raised and the frequency of the service reduced.

Iain Gaul, Angus SNP council leader, argued on BBC Radio Scotland that privatisation was the most effective means of providing care services. Less directly, John Swinney has called for 'relentless reform' through 'shared council services, procurement and service overlap' in the public sector. This is the mantra of the Labour party and of the governing Tory party – opening up what remains of the public sector to private business.

Angus Against the Cuts led the organisation against the SNP cuts, through street work, leafleting and petitioning. A wee pensioners army mounted regular protests outside Angus council meetings. Folks on disability scooters, ninety - year olds and supporters, braved the harsh Scottish winter to demand: 'Angus Council Hear Us Say- Service Cuts – No Way!'

Supporters from Dundee Against Austerity www.facebook.com/DundeeAWS and the Revolutionary Communist Group/ Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! have joined these events, the most recent being on Thursday 11 February where a victory was won in the council agreeing to save the vital TSO posts. 50 people gathered outside the council meeting and dared the SNP to carry out its budget. A 93 year old lady spoke of this country being a 'dictatorship' and recalled the suffering of the last World War after which promises were made about security and welfare.

Campaigners pledged solidarity for Dundee Against Austerity's own battle against the only SNP full majority council in Scotland. It proposes to cut £27 million from the 2016/17 budget through 200 job losses and service cuts that will again affect the vulnerable. DAA urges the fullest support for the protest at Dundee SNP council's budget meeting on Thursday 25 February, 1pm City Square.