For Immediate Release – Sunday 16th January 2011
POLITICAL / TRANSPORT CORRESPONDENTS
Scotland’s roads would have been facing even greater pressures if plans by Labour to cut the roads budget had been realised says Highlands & Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson - a member of the Scottish Parliament's Transport Committee.
Mr Gibson raised the issue after Labour's Michael McMahon ATTACKED the £15 million the Scottish Government had made available about the effects the prolonged winter conditions have had on council funded roads.
Mr Gibson pointed out that Labour had attempted to cut £10 million from the roads budget in 2008 would have exacerbated these problems. As a Transport Committee Report from January 2008 shows Labour attempted to cut £10 million from last year’s budget, a further £10 million this year and another £10 million in the year ahead.
Commenting Mr Gibson said:
"It is astonishing that Labour would attack extra money being made available to help councils repair Scotland's roads after the recent winter weather.
"However it would appear Labour’s hypocrisy on this issue knows no bounds as they would have CUT Scotland's roads budgets. Attempts at politicising this serious issue are as dodgy as all their claims and also highly hypocritical.
“We have gone through an exceptional and prolonged period of winter weather and local councils will naturally be concerned about how this will affect their roads budgets.
"However Labour’s plans for a £10 million funding cut in the roads budgets would have had a disastrous impact on our roads network at this time of year.
“The last few weeks highlight the folly of Labour’s proposal to cut £10 million a year from the road maintenance fund."
Minutes from the Transport Committee Report Jan 08
The Committee notes the Cabinet Secretary’s comments in relation to the winding down of the route development fund and the on-going activity he has highlighted in relation to the promotion of Scotland. However, a majority of the Committee is of the view that steps should be taken to provide alternative and specific support to encourage the development of new air routes.
304 It therefore recommends that the Support for Air Services spend should be increased by £10m per annum and that this should be funded by a transfer from the Routine and Winter Maintenance Level 3 line. (304 Charlie Gordon, Alex Johnstone, Cathy Peattie and David Stewart agreed; Rob Gibson, Patrick Harvie and Shirley-Anne Somerville dissented; Alison McInnes abstained)
Finance Committee Report Jan 08
Elaine Murray proposed the addition of the following text:
The Committee recommends that a Support for Air Services Fund should be created, at a cost of £10m per annum. This will be funded by a transfer from the Routine and Winter Maintenance Level 3 line.
The proposal was disagreed to by division: For: 3 (James Kelly, Tom McCabe, Elaine Murray), Against: 4 (Derek Brownlee, Joe FitzPatrick, Alex Neil, Andrew Welsh), Abstentions: 1 (Liam McArthur).
John Swinney - Budget stage 1 debate
The Labour Party came forward with a range of propositions, none of which was successful in the Parliament's Finance Committee. Those included the bizarre proposition to reduce the winter maintenance budget just as Scotland was in the grip of some of the heaviest snow we had seen in many years—a short-sighted proposition if ever I saw one.