SNP members have blasted Conservative-run South Ayrshire Council for spending tens of thousands of pounds on the King’s Coronation.

The party’s Prestwick branch had claimed one of its members had been told that the council had spent £35,000 on coronation bunting and Union flags that appeared in South Ayrshire communities.

This was disputed by the council, which told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that it had spent around £15,000 on decor, including bunting that will be used for future unrelated events.

Almost £15,000 was given in grants to communities holding coronation events last weekend.

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The Conservative-run administration had allocated £50,000 in money for coronation events during the budget setting in March, leaving around £35,000 unspent.

SNP Prestwick took exception to the outlay, claiming that Prestwick councillor Martin Kilbride had given them the figure when asked how much the council was spending on the coronation.

But Councillor Kilbride said that the person approached him in Prestwick, initially mistaking him for council leader Martin Dowey, and had demanded to know how much the council had spent on the coronation.

He said that he had stated that there was still £35,000 of the £50,000 allocated by the council remaining.

The vast majority of Scottish councils chose not to spend funds on the event, including North and East Ayrshire councils.

The SNP branch remained adamant over the spending on the coronation.

They said: “As a branch we just feel it was incredibly insensitive to use public money from the community fund in this way whilst cutting the services we mentioned in our post and whilst food banks across South Ayrshire are giving out record donations.”

The statement they posted on social media said: “At our branch meeting tonight we agreed to issue a statement expressing our intense displeasure at South Ayrshire Council choosing to spend on flags and bunting for the King’s Coronation at the same time they have made choices to cut budgets to kids after school clubs, funding to young people, apprenticeships and concessions at its leisure centres for disabled and low incomes. 

“All whilst there has been no progress in facilities at the Citadel and no sign of a plan for Ayr Town Centre a year on from that last council election.”

They also posted a short video of the new community square in Ayr High Street bedecked in union flags, asking whether the Saltire was 'outlawed’ by the council.

A council spokesperson confirmed the spend on the flags and bunting that appeared to mark the coronation, along with £14,400 on grants to community groups, £447.70 on council events at libraries and Ayr’s Grain Exchange.

A total of £5,000 was spent on union flags and bunting, with a further £9,384 spent on purchasing and installing more generic multi-coloured bunting the council says will be used for future unrelated events.

He said: “We will always support the vulnerable in our communities as a key priority.

“A council decision was taken to support the coronation and we believe the £5000 spent on union bunting and flags is proportionate and reflects the significance of this national event.”

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The only authorities to spend more than South Ayrshire were Scottish Borders Council and North Lanarkshire Council.

Like South Ayrshire, both had allocated £50,000 for coronation events, with North Lanarkshire spending around £35,000 and Scottish Borders £19,000.

Glasgow said it was spending just over £7000, having received UK government funding of £15,000.

Across the UK, councils had allocated a total of £3.8m for the celebration.