SNP councillors in Stirling have called for an investigation into a £139,000 demolition costs write-off at Raploch URC – but then found themselves at the centre of a probe.
The SNP group on Stirling Council claim the sum will reward future developers at the expense of council tenants – and called for Audit Scotland to investigate.
But now a council row has erupted because the Tory-Labour administration say the SNP councillors have breached council meeting privacy rules.
The SNP group reckon the £139,000 constitutes one per cent of any rent increase meaningtenants could be in line for an inflated 3.2 per cent rise.
The group’s housing spokes-person Councillor Alasdair Macpherson said: “This is an absolute scandal. The Tory-Labour administration intends to write this off. In typically secretive fashion, the administration has sought to keep the facts from the public, taking the decision in closed session and suppressing debate at the regular tenants’ forum.
“The only way to get the facts out in the open is for Audit Scotland to investigate.”
The SNP say Cllr Macpherson was given permission at a council meeting to go to the Housing Advisory Group with information relating to the decision.
And at a press conference this week, Cllr Macpherson and SNP colleagues Scott Farmer and Jim Thomson claimed there were attempts to “gag” them from speaking out.
Cllr Thomson, who resigned as a director of Raploch URC earlier this year, said: “We recognise the issue of confidentiality but Councillor Macpherson asked for permission and sought legal opinion.
“We’re saying the 5000 tenants should not bear the brunt of this. Our view is the sum should be shared across the whole council... not just the housing fund.”
But Council leader Corrie McChord blasted the SNP’s comments. He said: “Our actions on regenerating Raploch speak louder than the words of an SNP press diversion that breaches the councillors’ code of conduct and is based upon factually incorrect statements.”
A Stirling Council spokesperson said: “This matter was discussed as an exempt item at a meeting of the council as it concerned the commercial circumstances regarding two private companies. It is regrettable this confidential matter has been shared publicly by an elected member.
“This situation is now the subject of an investigation.”