I SUPPOSE it is only to be expected that Tommy Davidson will swallow hook, line and sinker the propaganda fed to him by his Dad's Labour Party.
The truth however is entirely different from the jaundiced picture Mr Davidson attempts to paint.
The SNP led West Lothian Council Administration has in our first year, amongst other initiatives, frozen the council tax and plans to freeze it at 2007 levels for the next two years; committed the council to building 700 new council homes; more than doubled the numbers of Safer Neighbourhood Units from four to nine; substantially increased funding for care packages for the severely disabled and improved care home quality for the elderly.
We have also rovided additional respite weeks for carers; introduced Kinship care payments; doubled the support for pensioners' Christmas treats; substantially increased support for local bus services and introduced free swimming for youngsters.
The council have also stepped up action against under age drinking and reduced class sizes for P1-3 Children in 14 schools from August and more to follow!
In addition, in the next four years the SNP led Administration has allocated £285 million to be invested in our roads, schools and community facilities with the next year alone seeing investment of £96.439 million - the biggest annual community investment West Lothian has ever seen yet Mr Davidson tells us we are cutting services.
The reality, as the above so clearly illustrates is that we are investing heavily in our community and seeking to target our resources at those to improve the lives of the most vulnerable.
As I have already made clear no decision to remove the council subsidy on rail travel has been made. I believe that we are absolutely right to examine and review everything this council does to ensure we are best meeting the needs of our community. This is exactly what will be happening in respect of the rail subsidy for pensioners.
In the coming months the council will carry out a genuine and detailed consultation on this issue with the view of determining if this is the best way of using public money to assist the elderly and vulnerable. In our first year we have delivered some £6 million in council efficiencies.
Every single penny of this £6 million has been re-invested in our council services to enable us to finance the improvements listed above.
The reality is that this council has two options.
Option one is to become more efficient by delivering our public services in a smarter more cost effective manner.
Option 2 two is to carry on as we are and balance our budget by cutting our services.
The SNP led Administration are committed to option one.
We are investing in our staff and new technologies to ensure we can provide council services in the most efficient and cost effective manner.
And we are committed to re-investing the cash released from these efficiencies into our front line services for the benefit of our communities.
Councillor Peter Johnston, Leader of the Council.