A PROPOSAL for Renfrewshire Council to buy a share in St Mirren Football Club has been rejected in a vote.
The opposition SNP group on the council had asked the new Labour administration to back its calls to consider investing public money in the club, which has a 52% share up for grabs.
It is estimated that share is worth about £1.5million. A proposed fan buy-out of the club has been discussed since 2010, but no agreement has been reached on any deal.
The idea for the council to get involved came from councillor Brian Lawson, who said it was possible that investing some of the council's capital budget in the club would bring community benefits, including increased use of St Mirren Park for non-football events, at minimal cost.
But, as revealed in yesterday's Evening Times, the proposal was vehemently opposed by the Labour leader of the council, Mark Macmillan.
During the meeting he said the idea as "utter madness."
Mr Macmillan said: "It beggars belief that you are serious about this. The fans' buy-out of the club has been talked about since February 2010.
"Who was in charge of the (council) administration in 2010? The SNP. What did Brian Lawson say then about a buy-out? Absolutely nothing.
"But the day after he comes out of office he throws in this amendment. This shows where his head is at."
But Mr Lawson, a St Mirren season ticket holder, said: "I think we should at least investigate the possibility."
And he pointed out the distinction between calling for the council's revenue budget to be used for the plan — which he would oppose— and suggesting capital spending could be used.
Council capital spending is money used for long-term investment, like building facilities such as schools or sports centres.
It differs significantly from revenue spending, which is money spent immediately on vital services. Local authority budgets keep the two types of spending separate.
Councillor Lawson's proposal was defeated by 21 votes to 14.