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Leader quits

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By Fiona Reid
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Leader quits

COUNCIL leader Stephen Thompson has today stepped down from the top job after failing to get his party’s budget agreed.
Cllr Thompson, who is also leader of the SNP, announced that his position had become ‘untenable’ after his administration, which includes the Independents, failed to get their proposal voted in for 2023-4.
It lost by 16 votes to 19, with all eight Labour councillors abstaining, during the full council at Dumfries earlier today.
And it was the Opposition group of the Conservatives who were celebrating success with their budget plan, which includes a six per cent council tax rise, as well as extra money to fix the region’s roads.
Commenting after the results were announced, Cllr Thompson said: “I will step down as convenor and that will trigger the appropriate subsequent meeting.
“I would like to thank everyone who hsa supported me in this role. It’s always been a privilege and occasionally a pleasure.
“I look forward to continuing to work in a slightly different role going forward.”
Earlier in the meeting, the Labour group saw their budget thrown out, which led to all their councillors abstaining in the final vote.
Speaking afterwards, group leader Cllr Archie Dryburgh said: “Labour have repeatedly attempted to secure an agreement for a budget proposal that is fair for the residents of Dumfries and Galloway. The Labour Group produced a budget that would protect education spend, invest in the region’s roads, invest nearly £3million in tackling the cost of living crisis and put the lowest council tax rise possible for local residents.
“The Labour Group is disappointed that the Conservative budget has passed as a result of Independent Councillors failing to support their own budget.
“The Labour Group is committed to working with all parties on the council to deliver for the region.”
Meanwhile, Conservative leader Cllr Gail MacGregor said: “Our budget covers all the areas that the public want to see, but they also want to know in three years time they are not going to have to pay ten per cent Council Tax and in five years we will still have a solvent council.”

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