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West Lothian NEWS - news as it happens in West Lothian

Councillor accused of political gamesmanship
Tuesday, 12 September 2006

"IF you want a future for the trainees, you have to find it somewhere else and we have to help you."

That was the message from Provost Joe Thomas after the Trustees of Polbeth Market Garden took the decision to close the charitable project, which was running at a loss of £20,000 a year.

The Provost blasted SNP Councillor Angela Constance, who called for the Council to continue providing assistance of up to £30,000 until the end of 2007.

Speaking at the meeting of the council's policy and resources committee on Tuesday, September 9, the Provost said: "What you are doing is raising false hopes amongst those who are extremely vulnerable, and if there is political gamesmanship being played, then it is sad."

The project provided market garden training for people with special needs. But the committee was told that it had struggled to attract as many as six trainees a year."

Councillor Graeme Morrice said: "The priority now is to engage with the users and their families and to find alternative provision."

Councillor Constance's motion was defeated by 10 votes to five.

She told West Lothian NEWS: "PMG can not be saved without additional financial assistance and the trainees now face an uncertain future.  The Project has a good track record and has received well deserved accolades.

"With time and support the project has proven it can attract funding from charitable trusts.

"Without additional funding from West Lothian Council the community will lose out on £10,000 from the Robertson Trust and up to £37,000 per annum of European Social Funding.

"This inaction by the Labour administration results in a loss of money and a missed opportunity not only for Polbeth Market Garden but also for the wider community”.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 26 September 2006 )
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