ELECTED members in Clackmannanshire have blasted the Stirling Council administration after they announced their intentions to walk away from a sharing of education and social work services.

On Tuesday, the Labour-Conservative coalition in Stirling informed Kilncraigs of their intention to pull out of the partnership, sparking consternation in both the Clacks' SNP administration and its opposition.

Stirling officials say they were subsidising their partners to the sum of £400,000 each year, describing it as an "unacceptable cost".

And today (Thursday), at Clackmannanshire Council's resource and audit committee, the Wee County members chastised their Stirling counterparts for their handling of the issue.

Labour's Janet Cadenhead said ongoing partnerships between the two councils would now be strained due to concerns of trust.

She said: "I am absolutely, completely ashamed of Stirling Council and the action they have taken over shared services."

Her Labour colleague Bobby McGill claimed the decision "will be a disaster for Clackmannanshire", while councillor Jim Stalker added: "I have no respect whatsoever for what they have done."

On the other side of the chamber, the mood was equally vociferous with council leader Les Sharp labelling Stirling Council as "totally abysmal" for informing his administration through email.

He added: "It was a rash decision. I think they will come to regret it and if they don't then hell mend them. We can now get on with our thing and we will."

SNP councillor Donald Balsillie then made mention of the "shoddy dealings" from Stirling and echoed fellow members' concerns of a growing lack of trust between the two authorities.

Committee chair and independent councillor Archie Drummond added it was a "shame that the Better Together coalition in Stirling chose to behave in the way that they did," and echoed Mr Sharp's view that this decision had presented Clackmannanshire Council with an opportunity to provide its own service.

The Stirling Council administration has recommended the formation of dedicated children's services organisation, should the council formally withdraw from the shared service partnership.

A spokesperson said: "A risk assessment of the financial consequences by the administration members also concluded that the precarious funding pressures in the next five years for SNP controlled Clackmannanshire Council in particular who have to cut tens of millions in that period meant an undue risk and potential burden falling upon Stirling's council tax payers.

"The financial pressures from cuts to local government funding by the SNP government also compounds the problem making it essential that the elected representatives at Stirling Council ensure that our residents are the first priority in protecting their services from further budget cuts."

He added: "Further consultation will take place with all stakeholders in the coming weeks to plan a smooth transition in shaping the organisation of Stirling Council's Children's Services and taking a formal decision with the agreement of a full Stirling Council meeting."

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