Following disagreement on proposals to underwrite a further £4.4 million for the Huntershill sports complex, the Liberal Democrat Group on East Dunbartonshire Council have made the decision to withdraw from the administration.
Statement from Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Councillor Ashay Ghai:
“When we entered coalition in 2012, all parties agreed that we would not put forward recommendations unless all three groups agreed. However, Labour and Conservatives broke this agreement by forcing through proposals to underwrite a further £4.4 million for the Huntershill sports complex, even as many questions remained unresolved. Liberal Democrat councillors strongly believed that we needed to know more on the rising costs and the implications for the rest of our building programme before we would agree any underwrite. We were then expected to simply fall into line, which we were not prepared to do. It is not easy to give up our roles and move into opposition, but it is against our principles to remain in the administration under these circumstances and when our coalition agreement has been broken. Liberal Democrat councillors will now not be shackled as part of the administration and can vote independently as a group.
“As Convenor of Neighbourhood services I have ensured that council house rents have remained low while housing investment has been high. Under my convenorship a new recycling collection scheme has bedded down and the amount we recycle has increased. Liberal Democrats have also protected the roads budget as we know how important this is to East Dunbartonshire residents.”
Statement from Councillor Eric Gotts:
“It has been a privilege to serve as Education Convenor since May 2012. Improving our primary school estate was always a priority for us in coalition and we are proud of our contribution towards new primary schools in East Dunbartonshire. This has built on the successful delivery of 6 new secondaries across the Authority by the previous Liberal Democrat administration in which I was proud to serve. As part of the council administration we have protected the Education budget and ensured the best possible additional support services for our pupils that need the most help. I will continue to make the case on behalf of the Liberal Democrats that education services are an essential priority from the opposition benches.”
Statement from Councillor Vaughan Moody:
“As Vice Convenor of Development and Regeneration I have been fully behind our existing capital programme which will deliver projects like the new Lennoxtown Hub, Auchinairn Place and refurbishment projects for Kirkintilloch Town Hall and Kilmardinny House. However, the decision to underwrite a further £4.4 million towards Huntershill sports complex without information on the consequences was not something I could support. I can now continue to question the effect of this decision on our other building projects as we still do not know where the additional money is coming from.”