Councillor Ian Dickson- Leven ward

AS I write this column a week has passed since it was prophesised that the world was going to end.

Apparently it still is going to end, but now in October. Maybe... These prophecies of doom are commonplace, and given the credence they deserve, eg. None.

Prophecies involving money are simply called forecasts.

They are different because they are based upon facts, past trends, and information known about future events.

When we see an adverse forecast, we should take action if we can.

That is, unless you are a local Labour councillor, where a bit of dodgy book-keeping will do.

Despite expecting a shortfall for the next two years of over £11 MILLION, they used last year's budget to try and bribe voters.

Rather than address the problem, they chose to plunder £2 MILLION from the council's emergency savings account.

They then ‘adjusted’ a calculated efficiency saving by an extra half a million pounds, to make it ‘look’ like the shortage would be met.

I recently received the update on the progress of that option, which suggested that officers expect to be short of Labour's revised target by almost half a million.

Labour whined for years about the SNP council tax freeze, but when the freeze was lifted, they didn’t increase it, leaving another chasm of over a million pounds to bridge.

Labour's sums just don’t add up, their gamble has failed spectacularly leaving a massive mess hole for the SNP to fill.

Some very tough decisions lie ahead for our council, with increasing demands on services and an ever-decreasing austerity-driven budget imposed by Westminster.

I am challenging our officers to consider total transformation of service delivery, because the current model cannot be cut further without rendering the services useless.

Many will not be deliverable without complete transformation.

The SNP administration will do their very best for all of the 90,000 people living from Clydebank to Gartocharn.

We will publish a draft budget by the end of the year for public input. I invite all the other councillors, to join with us and participate, to mould this budget, protect your priorities, and enhance whatever we can.

I end by making my own prophecy - Labour councillors will refuse to participate in the budget consultations, preferring to stand on the side-lines pointing fingers at the administration, claiming SNP bad.

I don’t believe anyone, of any party, stands for an election to deliberately do harm, or to make unnecessary cuts, despite what some opposition councillors will say of the administration councillors.