Funds cut for Play Association

Graham Willgoss

A Scottish childcare charity will be forced to cut its services in East Dunbartonshire after the local authority axed its funding to curb council tax rises.

The Scottish Pre-School Play Association, which provides childcare services for 43 pre-schools in the area, had its funding withdrawn by East Dunbartonshire Council last week.

Ian McLaughlan, chief executive of the Scottish Pre-School Play Association, has accused the council of "backtracking" on an earlier promise to continue with the funding.

Speaking about the council's decision, McLaughlan said: "We had agreed a one-year funding arrangement in December, which the council said it would honour provided we kept up negotiations with its members - which we have," he said.

"It will leave a massive gap in childcare services in the area because we do not have the cash reserves to sustain ourselves."

The council, where no political party has overall control, had funded SPPA's services in the region for the past 10 years. Last year it provided £30,000.

"Local government has done all it can to dampen down council tax rises," said Councillor John Pentland, finance spokesman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.

"But general under-funding from the Scottish Executive means Scotland's council taxpayers face a lose/lose situation,"

Pentland added: "On top of every council having to make cuts, individual local councils have then made a difficult decision between further cuts in services or raising the council tax."

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