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Daily Record
Daily Record
Judith Tonner

North Lanarkshire administration prioritises cost of living

North Lanarkshire’s new administration say their “priority is to take immediate action [on] the cost of living crisis” after completing their power switch by appointing a new team of conveners and deputes to lead the council’s 20 committees.

Council leader Jim Logue says his team – fully replacing the SNP administration which took office in May – has “a wealth of experience with a track record of getting things done, particularly in times of emergency”.

The new office bearers were confirmed at a special meeting yesterday which saw the installation of a Labour provost and Conservative depute; which the opposition SNP group blasted as an “official Tory/Labour coalition”.

Motherwell South-East & Ravenscraig councillor Kenny Duffy is North Lanarkshire’s new provost, assisted by Wishaw member Bob Burgess who was proposed by the Conservative group and elected with their votes and those of Labour and independent Michael Coyle.

Opposition leader Tracy Carragher responded to the 10 Conservative appointments confirmed on committees and outside bodies by accusing the Labour leadership team of “working behind the scenes to make a deal with the architects of the cost-of-living crisis”.

New administration post-holders include Labour councillors Heather Brannan-McVey returning as housing convener; Angela Campbell chairing the education, children and families committee; and Nicky Shevlin becoming planning convener.

Amendments were also made “to reflect the council’s priorities” – including the creation of new committees for both wellbeing & tackling poverty and for communities & regeneration, respectively chaired by Geraldine Woods and Kenny Stevenson, while changed committee names now include employment & fair work, environment & climate change, and economy, finance & resources.

The audit & scrutiny panel will be chaired by Conservative leader Sandy Watson and party colleague Gordon Currie will be vice-convener of planning; while there were 12 made changes to the council’s membership of outside bodies, with seven going to Conservatives including representation on local government body Cosla and on Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.

Councillor Logue said: “Our primary concern is to support people who are being hit particularly hard by the cost of living crisis – we are determined to take action to ease the burden on our most vulnerable people who are already suffering in the most challenging of circumstances.

“The impact of these spiralling costs isn’t something that the council can solve alone but we will accelerate our plans to provide clear, constructive support ahead of winter to help mitigate the challenges people are facing, before families and people are truly plunged into real hardship and poverty.

“Our leadership team has a wealth of experience with a track record of getting things done, particularly in times of emergency; our focus is very much to move at pace to assist people locally as well as compelling national government to take urgent action to tackle the soaring living costs that are having a detrimental impact on communities.”

Councillor Carragher said: “However they may spin this, it is now blatantly clear that the Tories and Labour are in formal coalition at North Lanarkshire Council, shutting out the SNP despite us being the largest party.

“Jim Logue refused to enter discussions with the SNP around working together for the benefit of the people of North Lanarkshire.

The opposition party lost another councillor as Sophia Coyle voted with the administration just two weeks after her father Michael did the same in the crucial council control vote, with both now becoming independents – and Councillor Carragher said: “It is now time for both to do the right thing and stand down as councillors to let the people of Airdrie North and Airdrie South have their say.”

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