Labour funding boost ‘misleading’

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THE SNP in West Lothian has accused the Labour administration of misleading the public over a campaign pledge to increase funding for the voluntary sector.

In the run-up to the May council elections, the Labour manifesto promised “an immediate ten per cent increase in the voluntary sector budget”, if the party won power.

But after Labour became the largest party in West Lothian and formed a minority administration, the group increased West Lothian Council’s voluntary sector spending of more than £20 million by just £76,000, with an extra £158,000 allocated to extend existing wage subsidy schemes. The £76,000 equates to ten per cent of the budget for organisations that are in receipt of grants and small grant funds, not the total spending on the voluntary sector.

Councillor Frank Anderson, deputy leader of the SNP group, said that was not made clear.

He said: “It was a big con. A lot of voluntary sector groups feel they were led up the garden path.”

Groups set to benefit from the ten per cent rise in the Voluntary Organisations Budget Report are set to receive a one-off funding boost at the end of the month.

Labour group leader Councillor John McGinty said Labour had honoured its pledge.