The Labour Group on Dumfries and Galloway Council has called for an urgent statement over the Scottish Government’s decision not to reimburse part of the £1.7 million of extra costs incurred by the council during the severe snow in March.
The Leader of the Labour Group Ronnie Nicholson has tabled an urgent question over the issue for this week’s meeting of the full council, seeking an explanation as to why the council’s bid failed.
The council made the bid for funding through the Government’s Bellwin scheme which was set up to provide “special financial assistance to local authorities who would otherwise be faced with an unforeseen financial burden as a result of large-scale emergencies.”
The Scottish Government have said Dumfries and Galloway Council’s bid doesn’t quality for the scheme, despite the council highlighting £1.7 m of extra costs it claimed it had to meet to deal with the aftermath of the extreme weather.
Ronnie Nicholson commented:
“This is an extremely disappointing decision by the SNP Government. In March, we were hit by some of the worst weather in the country. This saw the council having to spend extra money on clearing and repairing roads thus stretching an already limited budget. The council turned to the Scottish Government for help but the Government has turned its back on our area once again, leaving it to the taxpayers of Dumfries and Galloway to pick up the bill. So far council officials haven’t even had the courtesy to inform councillors that the application failed never mind the reasons for that failure. We need answers as to why the application failed so miserably and I have tabled an urgent question for this week’s meeting of the full council. The council will have known the criteria. Either the application was poor and simply didn’t meet that criteria or the Scottish Government have not been fair when assessing the application. Either way we need an explanation.”