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Mackay visit was "smoke and mirrors"

By Alistair Whitfield

MSP Derek Mackay
MSP Derek Mackay

MORAY Conservatives have criticised this week's visit of Derek Mackay to the area.

The Finance Secretary came to speak to Graham Leadbitter, the leader of Moray Council, who later hailed the talks as "productive".

However the Tories are questioning this.

Conservative group leader Tim Eagle, said: "As yet we have been provided with nothing other than scant details as to what was discussed despite the fact that Moray Council faces a financial meltdown without immediate support.

"I have no idea if Mr Mackay suggested any solutions or made any clear offer of support. With this in mind I am left wondering if I just need to assume this is all smoke and mirrors."

Cllr Eagle also criticised the exclusion of all non-SNP councillors from the meeting, which was held at Moray Council HQ in Elgin.

He said: "It is a real shame that at a meeting which was supposed to discuss the practical support the Scottish Government could provide to Moray Council, that not a single opposition councillor was invited to attend.

"With a visitor as high-profile as Mr Mackay it seemed fair that at least all group leaders had a right to hear what was said and a right to put their point of view."

Cllr Eagle was part of an all-party delegation which travelled from Moray to meet Mr Mackay in Holyrood several months ago.

This, he stated, was specifically designed so that all the political parties could show they were working together for the good of Moray.

He continued: "Sadly, I am now being expected to be part of another horrible year of savings without being told anything which could provide some welcome relief.

"I cannot stress enough that Moray simply must have significantly improved funding from ScotGov next year so we can provide even the basic services which Nicola Sturgeon's government asks us to.

"Without this, even statutory services could be left in tatters.”

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