NORTH Ayrshire political groups have clashed over the Scottish Parliament’s recent Budget Bill.

The budget has been praised by the SNP and Greens for providing an extra £4.2m for North Ayrshire Council.

But the Labour administration and Conservatives have accused the SNP and Greens of spin and claim the budget fails to protect public services. North Ayrshire political groups have clashed over the Scottish Parliament’s recent Budget Bill.

Kenneth Gibson MSP said: “This budget provides record amounts in our NHS, efforts to improve attainment in our schools, invests in our economy with support for infrastructure, broadband and innovation and supports our ambitions to tackle climate change.

“We are lifting the pay cap for sector workers and our progressive budget takes steps to mitigate new UK Tory Government cuts of £211 million in 2018/19.

“It increases NHS resources by £400 million, with funding for children’s mental health services going up 30 per cent from £53.2 to £70.2 million; invests £243 million in the expansion of early learning and childcare; confirms £600 million of investment to reach 100 per cent of homes and businesses with superfast broadband by 2021; supports the building of 50,000 affordable new homes, backs small businesses and innovation and provides essential funding for our frontline police and fire services.

“Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP also confirmed he will extend the SNP Government’s commitments on public sector pay to ensure all public-sector employees earning up to £36,500 receive a minimum three per cent pay increase.

“Investment in low carbon infrastructure will continue to increase in each year of this parliament, with extra support for home energy efficiency, the exploration of new local rail services and the delivery of marine protected areas.

“Labour and the Tories, as usual, voted against all of this – without producing any meaningful alternatives of their own.”

West Scotland MSP Ross Greer described the deal as “a big win for North Ayrshire”, adding that proposed cuts to librarians and classroom assistants, as well as increases in class sizes, in North Ayrshire can be ditched.

But Labour Council Leader Joe Cullinane said: “For the second year in a row the Greens have struck a deal which sells out local government.

“This deal does not stop council cuts as is being spun. It does not protect local services.

“It does not fund pay increases for council workers. What it does is leave a £15m gap in North Ayrshire Council’s budget and that puts our local services and jobs under severe threat.

“This is yet another austerity budget being imposed on the communities of North Ayrshire by the SNP and the Greens.

“Only Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow lost more in cash terms, meaning that the impact of the SNP’s error has had a disproportionate effect on North Ayrshire’s budget.

“The people of North Ayrshire should not lose out because Mr Mackay is a Finance Secretary who can’t get his sums right. However, rather than set aside five minutes to discuss his error with me, Mr Mackay has arrogantly refused to discuss it.

“Not only have the Greens done nothing to secure the restoration of this funding but our SNP MSPs Ruth Maguire and Kenny Gibson have said nothing about it. “It is clear Ruth and Kenny will stand up for the SNP before they will stand up for North Ayrshire.”

Jamie Greene, Conservative West Scotland MSP, added: “The revised budget is simply local council budget cuts and tax rises dressed up – figures confirm that North Ayrshire Council’s budget is still being cut.”