I am surprised that the meeting of the Dundee City Council which deals with police and fire issues was cancelled on Monday due to a lack of business. I've written to Dundee City Council Chief Executive asking when the council will have an opportunity to scrutinise the budget of the police and fire services in Dundee. The next meeting is scheduled for 21st March and may be too late to make any representations on the budget of the police or the fire service in Dundee.
We have heard warm words about how both Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service value the input of local councillors in the development of their policies but the most important influence on the services they provide is funding. It appears to me that Dundee City councillors will not have an opportunity to make representations about the financial plans of either organisation prior to decisions being made about their budgets for the next financial year.
There are cuts planned of £12.2 million to the Scottish Police Authority and £19.4 million to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service; these cuts are likely to have an impact on the provision of services in Dundee. Whilst it is for these bodies to set their budgets and priorities they claim to listen to local elected representatives and I fear that in Dundee we will not have a chance to really influence the police or fire budget.