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Coalition criticised

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
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Coalition criticised

TWO councillors have stuck the boot into the newly formed administration leading Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Pauline Drysdale, who represents her home area of Castle Douglas and Crocketford, and newly-elected Dee and Glenkens Councillor John Denerley claim that another SNP/Labour coalition – propped up by Lib Dem and Independent councillors – is disastrous for the region.

As opposition Scottish Conservatives councillors, Mrs Drysdale and Mr Denerley insist that voters have been let down by SNP and Labour for too long.

Councillor Drysdale said: “Our voters have endured an SNP-Labour led council for the last five years where we have seen services eroded and voters disillusioned with the horrendous state of our pothole ridden roads, with the missing £4.5 million for our children badly affected in schools, our care system struggling to cope and a public transport system in tatters.

“Our economy needs growth, our rural schools require urgent investment, and our planning system needs revitalised.

“With a majority we proposed a progressive coalition to revive and restore the council but sadly this has not been entertained.

“For me, this is devastating as so many voters put their trust in me, and in our party for dynamic and progressive change.”

Councillor Denerley added: “I am shocked that the independent group, who spent the last five years highlighting the Scottish Government’s complete disregard for our community, have chosen to join forces with the very government that has cut our budgets, centralised frontline services and attacked our industry.”

But SNP group leader Stephen Thompson, who is also co-leader of the council, said: “Everyone in this council wants to work together to deliver for Dumfries and Galloway and I think we found a way to do that democratically that includes as many groups as possible in the administration, and with a constructive opposition holding us to account.

“Everyone is aware of the urgency in addressing the cost of living crisis and how best to protect the most vulnerable, but there is a very clear need to improve our roads, support our economy, and develop the skills of our people.

“We’ll be working with all groups to bring forward a council plan to deliver these shared priorities.”

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