Controversial council parking charges have become part of the battleground in the Angus General Election campaign.
SNP candidate and Perth and Kinross councillor Dave Doogan had been challenged by Arbroath Conservative counterpart Derek Wann after describing the scheme as “outrageous cash grab parking charges imposed by this Tory council” in campaign material.
Mr Wann said: “The SNP candidate’s leaflets contain claims about ‘Tory parking charges’ but they were indisputably a decision of the full council, regardless of party.
“They were also in the SNP’s own budget for the year. It may be that Mr Doogan needs to familiarise himself with the area he is standing in.”
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Mr Doogan responded: “The Tories running Angus Council are, it seems, very content to transact the power of administration but less enthusiastic to accept the responsibility which comes along with it.
“The woeful parking regime introduced in Angus by the Tories is a total disaster not just for town centre traders and their customers but also for the reputation of the council.
“For the Tories to claim that opposition councillors are also liable shows an abdication of responsibility and confirms the Tories are not fit to govern at any level.”
Conservative candidate Kirstene Hair said: “All of Angus Council, regardless of political party, approved a budget that included off-street parking charges.
“The SNP even had it in their own alternative budget so it’s a bit rich for Mr Doogan to come out with these comments.
“His claim is utter nonsense but might have a better understanding of these issues if he was from the area.
“Of course, difficult decisions like this wouldn’t have had to be made if Nicola Sturgeon had not made such deep cuts to the Angus Council budget.
“This shouldn’t be the case, as the UK Government’s block grant to Scotland is increasing.”
Ms Hair added: “Of course, this is a General Election and no MP has a veto over council issues.
“The best thing the SNP could do would be to give Angus Council their fair share of funding. But instead they prefer to play political games with local issues instead of resolving them, which is well within their power.”
The parking scheme has been dogged by trouble since it came into place on November 1 last year and was recently the subject of a damning scrutiny report over the handling of its implementation.
However, under-pressure business owners in local town centres hope to see the benefit of free Saturday parking which is now in place for the festive season, with reports of busy weekend car parks in towns like Kirrie for its Christmas lights switch-on.