Stay-away SNP slam changes to Falkirk Council structure

The SNP group of councillors stayed away from the inagural meeting of Falkirk Council's new executive committee.
The SNP group of councillors stayed away from the inagural meeting of Falkirk Council's new executive committee.
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Opposition councillors ‘boycotted’ the first meeting of Falkirk’s new-look executive committee.

The two SNP members were no shows for the inaugural session on Tuesday morning.

Councillors David Alexander and Tom Coleman had been due to take their place alongside nine from the ruling administration – eight Labour and one Tory – as well as non-aligned independent Robert Spears.

However, although they told officials they couldn’t attend, the SNP group had already issued a statement confirming they would boycott the new committee which they labelled a “politburo”.

The new structure was agreed last month in a bid to streamline the council and make it more effective.

But the move was opposed by the Nationalists, who claim the new structure excludes the majority of its councillors from decision making.

Group leader, Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, said: “We cannot accept the gerrymandering of decision making processes, putting in place an anti-democratic structure that effectively makes redundant the majority of SNP elected councillors. What we demand is the ability for all to participate in the political decision making of the council.”

But Councillor Craig Martin, the council leader who chairs the executive, said the old system was “archaic” and in desperate need of overhaul.

He said: “There has been criticism of Falkirk Council because it was so bureaucratic and we have lost out on major investment because of this.

“The new system is more streamlined and, although it is a new way of doing things, it will be much more effective.

“The people of Falkirk have to realise that what we had before – and the old system was around since the mid-1990s – was not effective.

“This is about taking Falkirk forward and making Falkirk Council fit for purpose to work with businesses, 
investors and make the right decisions.”