SNP to join Labour and Independents in new ruling group

County Buildings in Ayr.
County Buildings in Ayr.

SNP, Labour and Independent councillors at South Ayrshire Council have agreed a ‘provisional partnership working arrangement’ that will see them take control of the council for the next five years.

The 16 councillors, nine SNP, five Labour and two Independents, say they have come together to form a partnership with agreement based on ‘social justice and priorities to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities’.

The largest party on the council, the Conservatives, have 12 seats, and formed the last administration in coalition with Labour.

The new group intend to confirm the proposed Administration – the first of its kind in South Ayrshire – at the first full Council meeting on Thursday 18 May.

A statement from the parties said: “In coming together, the new administration will put people right at the heart of our agenda, while working to manage the significant financial challenges facing the Council. We will announce our programme for action shortly but the cornerstone will be to ensure that every child can fulfil their potential and that no child attending school will go hungry due to austerity programme of the Conservative Government at Westminster.

“We will review our current consultation arrangements with our communities to ensure that our services meet individual and local needs and to help us make better decisions about how money is spent.

“We will build more affordable homes, and will work with Housing Associations to bring more investment to South Ayrshire.

“Our staff are our most important asset and in these most difficult financial times we want to give an assurance about their future and will adopt a policy of no compulsory redundancy.

“There will continue to be changes in the way services are delivered and we may ask staff to work in different ways and at different locations but we have invested in their training and skills and it is important that these talents are fully used.”

Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of the SNP Group, said: “I’m looking forward to working with colleagues in the Labour Group and the Independent members.

“The priorities that we put to the voters in the Council election were very similar and our discussions about forming and administration progressed very quickly. The financial uncertainty now facing the Council, along with Brexit negotiations, means we have to concentrate our attention and resources on those most in need, those most vulnerable, and ensure that the children of South Ayrshire have the support to achieve all they can be.”

Councillor Brian McGinley, speaking on behalf of the Labour Group, said: “We view this working arrangement as a unique opportunity to advance the long held Labour values of tackling poverty, promoting equity and bringing about a socially just South Ayrshire by mitigating the effects of austerity on the most disadvantaged.”

In a joint statement Independent Councillors Alec Clark and Brian Connolly said: “As Independent Councillors, we look forward to working with our elected SNP and Labour colleagues in administration to serve the citizens of South Ayrshire. Our priorities will be to provide good local services, protect our Rural Communities and follow best value for the public pound.”

The provisional working arrangement will be considered by all 28 South Ayrshire Councillors on 18 May 2017 when the new South Ayrshire Provost will be elected and will invite nominations for other key positions within the new Administration.