More money is needed to fund council services, the two main candidates in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election have said.

Voters in the constituency will choose a new MP next week with the SNP and Labour battling to win the seat.

Unison Scotland held a hustings in the area on day three of a school staff strike.

READ NEXT:'We must get it right': Glasgow's drug consumption room

Katy Loudon, SNP, Michael Shanks, Labour, attended with Robert Brown representing the Liberal Democrats in place of the party candidate, Gloria Adebo.

The current dispute, workers' pay claims and funding for local councils dominated the hustings.

All three said they supported the strikes.

The SNP candidate said the root of the problem was Tory austerity, Brexit and the Tories crashing the economy, while the Labour candidate added as well as Tory-created problems, the Scottish Government has underfunded councils for the last decade.

Loudon said: “There needs to be more money for local government. We need a bit of honesty around that.

She added: “The Scottish Government has been doing all it can to support people putting money into people’s pockets.”

READ NEXT:Consumption room must be start of real fightback on drug deaths

She said: “We have one hand behind our back, the Scottish Government budget in real terms has been cut but has passed on as much as it can.”

Shanks said £370m had been cut from South Lanarkshire Council’s budget since the SNP was in power at Holyrood.

He added: “It has chosen to pass austerity on to councils. Economic incompetence has been made worse by the SNP.”

He added: “Local Government has been the punching bag for far too long.”

He said budgets were being cut but councils expected to deliver more services.

He said cuts were not inevitable and the Scottish Government was prioritising other areas and was also responsible for wasting money due to delays and overspending on projects.

Loudon said the money was going to provide support in a cost-of-living crisis.

She said: “The Scottish Child Payment is a crucial benefit, having to spend millions of pounds to support families.

We know where this crisis has come from, it’s Brexit and the Tories crashing the economy.

The by-election takes place next Thursday with 14 candidates standing.

Labour is hoping to win back the seat as a sign it has recovered in Scotland and can challenge the SNP across the country.

The SNP is defending a 5230 majority Margaret Ferrier won in 2019 before she was suspended from the SNP and later removed as the MP for breaching Covid rules in September 2020 by travelling from London to Glasgow despite testing positive for Covid-19.