Sunday, 13 January 2019 20:43


The Tories have been exposed as “treating the public with contempt” after calling for more spending on public services – despite simultaneously demanding £500 million in tax cuts.

Last month the SNP revealed that Tory politicians had made well over a hundred demands for extra spending in the run up to the budget statement on everything from potholes to the health service. 

This lengthy shopping list is despite the Tories at Westminster cutting Scotland’s resource block grant, which has fallen by almost £2 billion in real terms in less than a decade – a fall of seven per cent.

Tory MSPs have continued to make more spending demands since the Christmas break, including:

  • Increased business rates relief
  • Higher enterprise funding
  • Refunds for NHS staff paying PFI car park costs
  • New funds to roll out electric vehicles in rural areas
  • Compensation for rail commuters
  • Increased tourism spending

Commenting, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said:

“The Tories are treating the public with contempt – making endless spending demands with one breath, while demanding the Scottish Government cuts its own budget to deliver lower taxes for higher taxpayers with the next.

“The fact is the Tory’s sole priority in this budget is tax cuts – meaning less money for our frontline public services.

“The Tories have cynically refused even to prepare an alternative budget, asking for ‘more money’ for local government on 09 January whilst refusing to say how much or whether it would come from more taxes or other areas of the Scottish Budget. They even admitted that Scotland is doing better than England or Wales, where Local Government is ‘collapsing’ according to Tory Councillor Gail MacGregor in her evidence to Holyrood’s Local Government Committee on 09 January.  

“The Tories must now tell us how they could simultaneously raise less money, whilst spending more on their rapidly growing shopping list.

“It doesn’t add up – and it’s about time the Tories were honest with people.”

·         Call To Refund NHS Workers' Hospital Parking Costs

·         Maurice Corry S5O-02787

To ask the Scottish Government what compensation it can offer to commuters who use Helensburgh Central railway station, in light of reports of frequent delays and cancellations.

·         Jamie Greene:

“The Scottish Conservatives are fully committed to our climate obligations. Our recent publication “Global Challenge, Local Leadership: Environment and Climate Change Position Paper” set out a number of ideas and measures that we would like to introduce to encourage the take-up and growth in ownership of electric vehicles, and I am happy to share them with the cabinet secretary. We have ideas around incentives such as free parking and the ability to use specific lanes; the establishment of specific funds to help rural communities; the increased availability of charging points at train stations, especially in station car parks”

·         Tom Mason:
“Despite the minister’s warm words for local authorities, according to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the settlement is insufficient and will send councils towards a “cliff edge”. Conversely, between 2010-11 and 2019-20, rates for businesses in Aberdeen have almost tripled, going from £84 million to £258 million. That represents an increase of 207 per cent, compared with a 52 per cent increase in Glasgow, for example.

“Does the minister think that it is acceptable to simply shift the responsibility for his local government shortfall to hard-pressed local businesses?”

·         Gordon Lindhurst:

“We will start with a question from me, then. The Scottish Government appears to agree with Scottish Enterprise’s claims that Scottish Enterprise contributes positively to the Scottish economy. Against that background, why does the Government continue to reduce Scottish Enterprise’s grant allocation? If the Government accepts that Scottish Enterprise is successful, should money not follow success?

·         Jamie Greene:
“Tourism accounts for, as you are no doubt aware, over £11 billion to the Scottish economy…Do you think people would be surprised when you look at the overall budget that the government only provides £45 million of assistance to it?... It just doesn’t seem to feel intrinsically that the appropriate attention and financial support that the industry needs to grow in the way that it’s growing.”

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