Labour have said Conservative claims that events like September’s airshow will generate the money needed to protect services are ‘pie in the sky’.

Councillor Brian McGinley, Labour’s Group Leader on South Ayrshire Council, said: “If, as reported, the South Ayrshire Council administration, fronted by Cllr Dowey, expects to protect council jobs by running events like the airshow, then there is your pie in the sky, right there.

“What is true is that the council does need to generate funds, but slashing economic development budgets by more than £200k and reducing learning opportunities for young people is not the way to go about creating the infrastructure to generate income.”

Following the budget, Cllr Dowey had claimed that the reduction in apprenticeship budgets had been a refocus on specific training, particularly aerospace.

Cllr McGinley said the Labour proposals also sought to raise income, although they had not intended to invest in the airshow. 

He said: “If raising income is a priority for the council, then the council could look to the Labour Budget which wanted to invest in green technology and invest in facilities that generate income and facilitate regeneration rather than pouring millions into a citadel blackhole and millions into golf.”

Cllr McGinley said he saw the no compulsory redundancies policy as a consequence of independent support for the administration budget.

“This support for staff was not evident at the beginning of the meeting, it is now Cllr Dowey’s number one priority,” he said.

“That is an own goal being converted into a virtue. I will take it anyway for the good of the staff and the wellbeing of the organization.”

“However, it is important to remember that raising money is only half the story because the finance raised must be wisely spent too and I do not see much best evidence of that happening.”

Cllr McGinley had previously suggested that it would not be technically possible for the administration to provide its promised £1m for each ward, one of the proposals agreed in the budget.

But he claimed that the model used was only possible because of the last administration, of which he was a member.

He said: “It is good to see that the current administration was able to use the place planning structure put in place by the last administration to invest £1m in every ward as per their manifesto commitment; that’s £9m across South Ayrshire, unless you add the £3m extra to Girvan which was not in their manifesto.

“Their main problem is though that they were outsmarted by the Labour Group budget which would have seen £15m invested in place planning across South Ayrshire; some £3m to £5m more.”