For immediate release:
LANARKSHIRE MSP SLAMS PHASE IN OF ‘EYE-WATERING’ COUNCIL LET FEES
Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey has criticised the Labour administration at South Lanarkshire Council for failing to reverse price increases for youth sports and dance clubs hiring council facilities.
In 2022-23, a 75% discount was available on the price for pitch hire for youth clubs – but that discount was cut after a meeting of the full council in February.
As a result, the price of football pitches, halls and swimming pools was set to rise by up to 114%.
Due to a backlash from local clubs, the SNP group at the council called for a Special Meeting – which took place on Wednesday 17 May – in order to reverse the concessionary discount cuts.
Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors at South Lanarkshire instead voted to recommend that the planned changes to the concession rates that are paid by under-16s sports clubs to use local pitches and other facilities should be phased in over 3 years.
This recommendation will go to the full Council on 24 May and, if then approved, would mean the concessions would reduce from the current 75% discount of adult rates to a 66.7% discount in June, then a 58.33% discount in April 2024, then a 50% discount from April 2025.
Commenting, Clare Haughey MSP said:
“The Labour administration at South Lanarkshire Council had the opportunity to right their wrongs and scrap their eye-watering price hikes for council lets.
“The council could have sided with the youth sports and dance clubs who have been up in arms about this, but they joined with the Tories and Lib Dems to phase the changes in over three years.
“This can-kicking exercise is far from acceptable, and rightly the SNP group will continue to call for a full reversal of the up to 114% price increase.
“Be in no doubt – this embarrassing U-turn from South Lanarkshire Council, albeit one which does not go far enough, has only come about due to sustained pressure from clubs, parents and guardians, and especially the children impacted.
“South Lanarkshire Labour could have voted with the SNP group back in February to maintain current concessionary discounts avoiding this saga altogether, and they could have voted to reverse the increase completely at the Special Meeting.
“On both occasions they failed to do so. They should hang their heads in shame.”