THIS month Clackmannanshire Council will need to pass a new budget, and under the SNP the county is facing further cuts to frontline services, following the SNP’s Holyrood budget.

Audit Scotland’s recent report highlighted the need for Clackmannanshire Council to make savings of £29million over the next three years out of an annual budget of £118m.

Since the publishing of the report, details of the Scottish budget have been finalised. And although the final budget has softened the blow with an additional £1.5m, it is not enough to counteract the £29m worth of savings required over the next three years.

Last November, my Scottish Conservative colleagues and I helped to secure additional £2bn funding for the Scottish Budget from Westminster, with £35m per year more for fixing the SNP’s Police and Fire service VAT error.

In the Scottish Finance Committee last month, the SNP finance minister, Derek MacKay, finally accepted the Fraser of Allander Institute report that confirmed the Scottish block grant coming from Westminster to Holyrood had increased.

However, the SNP administration at Holyrood, of which our local SNP MSP is a cabinet m,ember, refuse to pass on this increase.

So we can be clear, the local council cuts are from Edinburgh, not London.

Only last month Mr Keith Brown was happy enough to nod through the SNP cuts to council budgets. It is therefore clear the local MSP and economy secretary is not fighting Clackmannanshire’s corner over funding. In spite of cross-party opposition to the cuts from Edinburgh, Clacks is still being left behind.

Although you may not be a natural Conservative, it is clear that it is my colleagues and I that are fighting for more funding and better results for Clackmannanshire after years of the SNP taking the county for granted.

It is for that reason that we need to send another Scottish Conservative councillor to Kilncraigs in the upcoming by-election in the Clacks North ward. We have an excellent candidate in Alex Stewart, a former soldier and owner of the fantastic Tillicoultry tea room, Tea@63.

The team you sent to the council last May have done a fantastic job of fighting for their wards, whilst holding the SNP council administration to account. Alex Stewart can add to this team, fighting for local issues and bringing a breath of fresh air to the council chamber.

My February and March surgeries are now online. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns -