An anti-austerity organisation which described Fife Council’s controversial budget as an “ideological attack on the very fabric of our society” is to carry on its campaign.
The People’s Assembly Fife — whose members are from various campaigning organisations, trades unions and individuals — were among those who demonstrated outside Fife House on Thursday ahead of the council’s budget meeting.
It agreed £8.8 million of savings for the next financial year.
Tam Kirby, spokesman for assembly, told The Courier: “The schoolboy politics and petty point scoring by the majority of the councillors is not the answer to the financial problems within Fife Council.
“To that end, we will continue to campaign against any and all austerity cuts, no matter what party is imposing them.”
During the budget meeting, Fife Council leader David Ross said the next three years would be the “most difficult the council has ever faced”.
Mr Ross said the council was setting a “realistic budget in difficult and uncertain times” and said the council “will not accept that we must simply manage a decline in public services”.
However, Mr Kirby said: “What happened in Fife and across all Scottish councils is all a part of the ongoing austerity ideology.
“It is an ideology that has continually attacked the working class and the poor, who are carrying the burden of the cuts and the costs.
“But austerity is working. It is working for the billionaires, who have increased their wealth and financial control since 2008.
“Austerity is working for big business, corporations and the privateers, with lower wages, zero hours contracts, worsening working and health and safety.
“And austerity has worked for the bankers and financial profiteers, to the tune of £375 billion in bailouts and quantitative easing.
“In fact austerity is doing exactly what it was designed to do.
“That is to decimate the welfare state, to cut and privatise all our public services, reduce wages and working conditions.”
Mr Kirby said only independent councillor Willie Clarke and Labour Kirkcaldy councillor Neil Crooks “made any real sense” during Thursday’s debate when they called for a united campaign to get local governments fully funded.
Meanwhile, SNP councillors Neale Hanvey and Ann Bain are to table a motion to the full Fife Council next Thursday to call on the UK government to abandon the “failed” policy of austerity.
Mr Hanvey said: “We’ve already seen the impact austerity is having on the most vulnerable people in society.
“However, many of those affected rely on vital public services to support them. Yet these services are the very ones shouldering ever-increasing demand with ever more scarce resources.
“More work needs to be done to demonstrate just how damaging these policies have been on our social fabric.”