Claims that Dundee’s budget will harm some of the city’s most vulnerable people have been dismissed by the SNP administration.
Labour group leader Councillor Kevin Keenan issued a strongly-worded statement after it emerged the budget includes almost £3.5 million of social care savings.
He described them as “deeply harmful” and said they would affect “the elderly and people with learning and physical disabilities and mental health issues.”
Councillor Willie Sawers, the SNP finance spokesman, said the changes would provide a better and more efficient service, but Mr Keenan said they could have a dangerous impact.
He said: “It is callous to target vulnerable people who are most need of support and least able to defend themselves. The SNP in Dundee have even raided the budget for their government’s flagship policy of health and social care integration to the tune of £2.115 million to spend on what they describe as inflationary pressures, including employers national insurance contributions.
“Is snatching money earmarked for improving the lives of vulnerable people to cover employers’ inflationary costs what Mr Sawers meant when he claimed that his administration had been ‘clever’ in saving public money?
“He is also on record saying that ‘there will be minimal impact on front-line services and most people will not notice the difference’.
“Tell that to the elderly and disabled who are getting their social care support services cut.”
In turn, Mr Sawers said Labour seemed “determined to engage in scaremongering” over the number of jobs that would be shed and over social care.
He said: “The integration of health and social care allows us to provide services more effectively and efficiently.
“Our aim is to provide a better service for the public and if this results in a more cost effective service, surely that is to be welcomed. It is utterly irresponsible for the Labour Party to try to play politics with these services upon which many elderly and infirm people depend.
“I look forward to the Labour Party producing an alternative budget, but suspect that they prefer to sit and carp from the sidelines rather than get on with the job of running our city.”