Highlands & Islands

Highland Council a dictatorship, says Independent Group

The Independent Group on Highland Council has accused the local authority's ruling administration of acting "like a dictatorship".

The group's leader, Carolyn Wilson, made her criticism after the creation of a new welfare reform working group.

She said independent councillors were at first offered just one place on the working group.

The SNP, which leads the administration, described Ms Wilson's claims as "preposterous".

Independent councillors and members of the SNP, Labour and Liberal Democrat administration have previously clashed on the make up of committees and outside bodies.

Ms Wilson said that after "much huddling and conferring" a second place in the welfare reform working group was given to an independent councillor.

But she said the handling of the situation "represented another sign of the dictatorship that is now Highland Council".

Ms Wilson said: "It has been acknowledged by everyone, including the administration, that welfare reform is a vitally important issue for the people of the Highlands.

"Therefore it is outrageous that as the largest group in the council, the Independent Group were initially being offered only one seat at the table."

SNP councillor Dave Fallows attacked the criticism.

He said: "Preposterous. Quite simple preposterous.

"I did try very hard to be consensual and get home the message that this was nothing to do with the political aspects of where we want to go with welfare reform."

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