AS the new demands drop through the letterboxes of council tax-payers in Angus, I feel prompted to comment on the negative rhetoric peddled by the ruling Tories in the coalition they have forged with independents and LibDems.

The ruling Tory-led administration in Angus has put the cuts in its budget, the likely redundancies which will ensue, the cuts to its services, the closure of public buildings, the increase in charges (get ready to pay for your parking) and the rise in council tax squarely at the feet of the SNP government. It has been claimed by the Tories that the Scottish Government is responsible for forcing a 20 per cent reduction in the council’s revenue budget. This is the overriding message that the Tory finance convenor has relayed to those who live and work in Angus: “get ready for £40m worth of savings to be found by the council annually for the next three years”.

The difficulty with the stance taken by the Tories in Angus Council is that unlike other parties they are members of the party in power at Westminster. The Tories have been in power there since 2010 and solely since 2015. During this period the longest programme of austerity has taken place, with budgets slashed in all government departments to the detriment of the poor, the disabled, the old, families and the young.

The Tory councillors cannot conveniently forget that they were elected on a Unionist Tory ticket. They have cleverly maintained a deafening silence about their links with the massive cuts perpetrated by their “Better Together” colleagues south of the Border. Just look at the way the Scottish Tory MPs have voted en masse for every piece of austerity introduced down South.

How do the elected Tories in Angus deal with the irony of criticising our elected government for cuts while at the same time the UK Tory government remains responsible for the size of the Scottish budget, which has been slashed?

Let’s do a comparison. The independent Fraser of Allander Institute has indicated that the Scottish budget faces £0.5 billion cuts over the next two years (less to spend on schools, hospitals and protecting the most vulnerable in Scotland). The 13 Tory MPs in Scotland supported this budget with no regard for their constituents.

They continue to support large tax cuts for the rich and privileged even when for the rest of us the cost of living continues to rise. The effects of their tax proposals would be a further reduction by £350 million for public services in Scotland.

The Scottish Government have attempted to maintain their commitments to the NHS, education, pensioners, the young, communication and business.

The Scottish Government’s social contract remains at the top of its agenda with continued support for free university fees, free personal nursing and care, free bus passes, baby boxes, increases in carer allowances, implementing Frank’s Law and building £50,000 affordable homes in Scotland, with £11m invested in affordable and social homes in Angus.

It should also be noted that the Scottish Government continues to spend £100m a year to mitigate Tory welfare cuts including the bedroom tax.

In Scotland our government – without the full economic levers and the restrictions of devolution – is in the process of creating a just, social democratic nation that cares about its people, their welfare, their children’s futures and the prosperity of its people and businesses. Any discerning observer will notice the clear differences in the direction we are going as a country compared to the direction the rest of the UK are going. Very soon it will be clear to all.

Dan Wood