A FORMER MP has called on Labour councillors to “walk out en masse from every city chambers and town hall in Scotland rather than impose austerity budgets”.

Paul Sweeney, who represented Glasgow North East until December’s snap General Election, made the call on Twitter after Glasgow City Council Labour member Malcolm Cunning raised the alarm over the need for £50 million’s worth of savings for the city.

The local authority says it faces a £51m shortfall for the coming year.

The country’s councils will set their budgets within weeks and Sweeney has called on Labour councillors “to walk out en masse from every city chambers and town hall in Scotland rather than impose austerity budgets”. He went on: “Let unelected chief executives impose the Edinburgh government’s assault on our public services.”

Kirsteen Sullivan, Labour depute leader of West Lothian Council, said she was “disappointed” in the call, saying: “We’re in positions of responsibility, not to make pointless gestures that would leave people worse off.”

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Kenneth Duffy of North Lanarkshire Council and Aileen McKenzie of Glasgow City Council – both Labour politicians – also disagreed with Sweeney.

And Stephen McCabe, leader of Labour-run Inverclyde Council, sent the following reply to Sweeney: “Your statement doesn’t even make sense. If the eight Labour councillors in my council walk out the 14 non-Labour councillors will set the budget, not the chief executive.”

And SNP MP Tom Arthur commented: “By this logic the Labour Party, had they been in government in Scotland, would have resigned rather than set austerity budgets imposed by Westminster. This perhaps explains why in opposition they consistently fail to bring forward credible proposals to the annual budget process.”

Local government umbrella body Cosla has urged the Scottish Government to increase funding for its 32 member authorities in the current Budget.

This week Scottish Greens said some may breach their legal obligations without sufficient resources from Holyrood.

Public Finance Minister Kate Forbes, facing a scrutiny panel, said “every single penny has been allocated”, telling MSPs: “There is no more resource.”

However, final decisions have not yet been made.