A LABOUR proposal to set aside £10,000 for staff affected by domestic abuse was branded “male privilege”.

Group leader Councillor Martin Rooney had moved the Labour amendment to the council’s budget last week, which included the extra money for support.

It stated: “This council agrees to introduce extend (sic) special paid leave for staff affected by domestic abuse at an estimated annual cost of £10,000.”

But SNP Councillor Caroline McAllister replied: “Cllr Rooney speaks of social values. Just to be clear, West Dunbartonshire Council already offer people who suffer from domestic abuse paid leave. I’m surprised he didn’t already know that.

“I find it utterly disgraceful that an elected member would seek to exploit a very serious issue that overwhelmingly affects women in a crass attempt to score political points. Male privilege much?”

Cllr McAllister also highlighted an increase in rape and sexual violence statistics, and said she was “delighted” to work closely with Rape Crisis to tackle the issue.

A total of £35,000 per year will be put aside by the SNP for Rape Crisis West Dunbartonshire to establish “support services for victims of rape, sexual assault and gender-based violence”.

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Cllr McAllister added: “The suffragettes spoke of deeds, not words, and that’s what this administration will continue to do.”

Councillor David McBride, speaking after the meeting, said Labour had been seeking to formalise what is already happening and make it a “known entitlement rather than a line manager’s discretion”.

He added: “As there is no data collected on what leave is currently being authorised, allocation was to allow the policy to be introduced, with a full report to a future committee.”