Ex Bute Advice Centre boss stands by government criticism

Gordon Sutherland (far right) retired as Bute Advice Centre's manager at the end of June.
Gordon Sutherland (far right) retired as Bute Advice Centre's manager at the end of June.

The recently-retired manager of Bute Advice Centre has stuck to his guns in his view of how poorer people are being treated by government, in the face of criticism from the island’s MP.

Gordon Sutherland’s comment, reported in our July 5 edition, that government, and in particular the Westminster government, had “started an assault on poorer people”, angered Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid, who, in a letter published in our July 12 issue, accused Mr Sutherland of using “over-the-top language”.

Mr Sutherland, who retired at the end of June after eight and a half years in the post, during which time the centre’s case load doubled from six hundred to 1,400 cases a year, has now responded by saying that while he had not been trying to drag the centre into a party political dispute, he stood by his original statement.

“I was not attempting to score party political points,” Mr Sutherland said, “nor was I laying historical blame at the door of any particular political party.

“Alan may have very convincing statistics to explain the position of the coalition government, but I must stand by what is perceived to be a widespread impression that there is an attack on the poorer and vulnerable sections of our society.

“Perhaps when massive tax evasion and tax avoidance is scaled down (Google, Starbucks, Amazon et al), then the position may improve?”

* Read Gordon Sutherland’s response in full in this week’s issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, July 18.