Queen's official birthday to be 'spectacular event' says expert
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Cllr Alasdair Macpherson voiced opposition to a plan to give councillors in Stirling an extra day off on Friday, June 3. The Jubilee runs between June 2 to 5, 2022, with celebrations creating a four-day bank holiday weekend.
Council chiefs from the SNP-Labour administration unveiled a £42,000 package from their General Fund Reserves to cover the cost of early learning and childcare provision allowing all employees to have a day off.
But Cllr Macpherson, who represents Bannockburn, voted against the measures during a crunch council meeting on Thursday.
The SNP councillor argued the move was “wholly insensitive” as the civic chiefs face an estimated funding gap of almost £29 million over the next five years.
Speaking during the council meeting, he added: “We have just seen the removal of the Universal Credit uplift and energy prices are rocketing, but we want to take £42,000 out of reserves to fund what I see as a British establishment stunt. It’s despicable.”
Cllr Macpherson also spoke out against the official SNP policy which is to retain the monarchy if Scotland becomes independent.
Expressing his republican views, he added: “I’m a great believer in free speech.
“I have every right to criticise. If I’m not a royalist it’s not a crime.”
But the move was met with anger from Holyrood politicians and opposition councillors.
Cllr Neil Benny, leader of Stirling Council’s Tory group, said the comments were a “predictable and tedious rant”.
He added: “This is about the 70 years of service HM The Queen has given to this country which should inspire us all to think how we serve our communities.
“We are just looking to give our staff the opportunity, as others in this country and the Commonwealth.
“When we stop marking these moments in our history, we stop marking what it means to be Scottish and to be British.”
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Wendy Chamberlain MP, Lib Dems Scottish affairs spokesperson, said: “It seems extremely churlish to begrudge council workers a day off to mark the monarch’s long and devoted service.
“If only SNP councillors got as upset by their government’s neglect of health and education.”
Stirling Council Provost, Christine Simpson, said council employees had “worked hard” through “new and often challenging circumstances to keep Council services running for the people”.
Cllr Simpson said she was “delighted that we have taken this chance to give them a well-deserved extra day off.”
Cllr Macpherson has been approached for comment.
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