A Tory MP has accused the SNP of slashing council budgets in north-east Scotland in retaliation for the region electing Conservatives to Holyrood and Westminster.
Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson criticised the SNP for the “political choice” to cut local authorities’ budgets, claiming the region’s four councils “will see their general funding cut by £100,000 a day”.
Speaking at the Scottish Conservative annual conference in Aberdeen, Mr Thomson said the cuts are “because the north east had the audacity to recognise the value of electing Scottish Conservatives to local government, Holyrood and Westminster, rejecting the failed SNP policies”.
He continued: “The Scottish Government is now getting more revenue from the UK Government than it has had in the past.
“Its budget has consistently grown and what we are seeing is in terms of priorities – the SNP are prioritising spending in other ways and want to cut budgets to local government.
“That’s a political choice of theirs and it has consequences.”
He claimed the SNP are “blinded by their obsession for independence” and using the north-east region as a “cash-cow to fund the central belt” in Scotland.
He added: “When it comes to public services, Nicola Sturgeon’s Government has dealt cut after cut.
“That’s cuts to teacher numbers and catastrophic reforms that have limited opportunities and choice for young people up and down our country.
“A whole generation of young people are being failed by the SNP Government in Edinburgh.”
Commenting on the return of Ruth Davidson as leader of the party in Scotland, Mr Thomson said: “There’s a real sense of optimism because Ruth is coming back.
“We all look forward to her getting stuck into Nicola Sturgeon and holding her feet to the fire.”
The SNP’s Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart responded to Mr Thomson’s speech on cuts, saying: “These claims are simply not true. Our budget is £2 billion lower in real terms than it was in 2010 as a direct result of Tory austerity, but despite this local government in Scotland is seeing a real terms increase in their budgets this year.
“Rather than simply making up numbers, the Tories would be better explaining how our schools and hospitals would cope under their plans to cut the budget by £500 million to pay for a tax cut for high earners like Ross Thomson.
“When Ross Thomson was a councillor in Aberdeen he called for spending in the north east to be tightened. Now when the SNP has continued to deliver for the north east in the face of massive cuts from Westminster, he still isn’t happy.
“Time and time again gypit Ross Thomson has shown a total lack of consideration on the biggest issues of the day – I’m sure the folk of Aberdeen South can’t wait to have their say on his time in office at the next election.”