Malcolm draws out the First Minister's response to cuts to Edinburgh's voluntary sector
Anti Poverty Agenda: Challenge to the First Minister about Council cuts Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab): Does the First Minister think that it helps the battle against poverty and inequality for 40 per cent to be cut from the budgets of a large number of well-established projects in north Edinburgh that are supported by the Scottish Government's fairer Scotland fund? At a meeting of local activists that I attended this morning, one well-respected activist said that the work and developments of 30 years had been undone in just 18 months. Will the First Minister speak urgently to his colleagues in the SNP coalition administration in the City of Edinburgh Council so that they take action to stop that carnage?

Alex Salmond (The First Minister):
The fairer Scotland fund amounts to 435 million over the three-year period. Moreover, for the first time, we have direct funding for third sector organisations.

I draw Malcolm Chisholm's attention to a quote about the pressures on local government. Yesterday, a representative of local government spoke about the financial pressures that it is currently under - the squeeze, as it has been called. A prominent leader of local government, looking at the pre-budget report, said:

"It means rises in bills for council taxpayers and leaves huge pressure on services".

That was Margaret Eaton, the chairman of the Local Government Association in England.
November 27th 2008, (Columns 12870-1)