IN A MOVE to strengthen the partnership of the local and national authorities, the SNP’s minister for local government and planning Derek Mackay met with council officials in East Dunbartonshire.
The ministerial visit was the first formal meeting to take place following the Scottish local government elections earlier this year.
Mr Mackay was greeted by council leader Rhondda Geekie as well as deputy leader Ashay Ghai and chief executive Gerry Cornes.
The agenda was aimed towards promoting a healthy working relationship between the council and central government in today’s stringent economic climate.
Mr Mackay said: “A strong and effective partnership between the Scottish Government and local government is central to improving quality of life for people across Scotland, and to delivering sustainable economic growth in a tight public sector spending environment.
“Over the last five years this government’s approach to partnership working has given local authorities new financial freedoms to address local issues.
“Although local authority budgets have been maintained, it’s important that we adjust to substantial reductions in the overall Scottish budget, as pressures on public services increase.
“Building a partnership for progress across the country will be essential as we work together to address challenges of the tight public sector spending climate, which is why I look forward to working with new administrations and new council leaders in the years ahead.
“I had a very productive meeting with the council leaders and I welcome their reaffirmed enthusiasm for, and commitment to, improving outcomes for people in East Dunbartonshire.”
Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Local Government Minister Derek Mackay to our new headquarters.
“The meeting was very productive and we discussed a number of issues including the challenges facing local authorities across Scotland.”
Councillor Ghai added: “As a new local administration we are very much looking forward to working with the Scottish Government in a positive manner.”