Carson called out by former council leader

Finlay Carson MSP has come under fire from a former leader of the council.
Finlay Carson MSP has come under fire from a former leader of the council.

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has called on Dumfries and Galloway Council to be fully transparent over any charges for children’s funerals in the region.

However, a former Labour council leader has hit back telling him to get his facts right before speaking out.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that charges are set to be scrapped south of the border, the Scottish Conservatives have called on the SNP to follow suit.

With many local authorities still charging, it has emerged that Dumfries and Galloway Council do not have any information on their website in relation to child burial charges, despite a legal requirement to do so.

Commenting Finlay Carson MSP said: “It is extremely disappointing that Dumfries and Galloway Council have not published this information on their website.

“Dumfries and Galloway Council have historically been a council that have charged in the past and it is a policy that should be scrapped immediately.

“First and foremost, they need to be open and transparent with local people and I will continue to monitor this situation.”

Commenting on the recent press release from Mr Carson, which called on Dumfries and Galloway Council to scrap child burial charges – despite the charges already being abolished – former council leader Ronnie Nicholson responded: “I was proud to lead the previous minority Labour administration when we scrapped burial and lair purchase charges for deceased children and stillborn babies as part of our budget.

“Finlay Carson as a councillor not only voted against these proposals at the time but he actually voted in favour of a five per cent increase in the charges. It is utterly disgusting that he is either deliberately misleading the public over such a sensitive issue or that he can’t even remember what he voted for.

“Either way a simple look at the budget on the council’s website shows the decision and his own party’s plans for increased burial charges.

“Finlay Carson should have checked before he made a complete fool of himself with such a cheap political stunt that has backfired. He should not only apologise for his stupidity but also now explain to the public why he not only voted against scrapping these burial charges but wanted to increase them by a further five per cent.”

Mr Carson has responded saying: “It is disappointing to see Councillor Nicholson engage in personal attacks when it comes to such a sensitive issue.

“Councillor Nicholson’s comments are disingenuous because he is well aware of the reasons why I voted against the Labour administration’s budget in 2017, including the completely misguided plans to press ahead with the ever increasing and unwanted flood defence scheme for the Whitesands, so it is wrong for him to single out one aspect of a budget.

“I would have thought instead of engaging in cheap jibes at myself, the councillor and his colleagues would be encouraging their SNP coalition partners to put pressure on the SNP Government in Edinburgh to follow the UK Government’s lead and scrap these charges.”