Budget Still Unsatisfactory: Greens

Today’s Finance Committee report on the Budget includes some minor recommendations for change on police funding and taxation for small businesses, all apparently designed to encourage Scottish Conservatives to back John Swinney’s budget. However, Ministers’ proposals still fail to come up to scratch on transport, housing and a range of other issues, Greens say, and Labour-led moves to reintroduce the Air Route Development Fund would simply make a bad budget worse.

Commenting on the budget overall, Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“We have approached our discussions with the SNP positively and in good faith, but unfortunately they remain committed to a budget that cuts public transport funding (1) while it wastes enormous sums on massive climate-busting projects like the M74 and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral. The budget also falls short across a range of social justice issues. For example, Ministers have failed to provide vital funding for affordable housing (2), put inadequate resources into energy efficiency (3), and missed an excellent opportunity to support the families of disabled children.

“As things stand, we do not support this budget. I urge SNP Ministers to think again on these issues, as the Scottish Greens would rather find ourselves voting for a good budget for Scotland than having to vote against the current flawed proposals.”

Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Green Party’s spokesman on transport and climate change, also responded to the Labour move to subsidise non-essential domestic air travel:

“The decision by Labour members in particular to push for the reintroduction of aviation subsidies shows their true lack of commitment on climate change. Direct routes clearly don’t cut domestic flights, and all arguments for subsidising new routes are utterly discredited.

“Sadly it seems that members of all parties other than the Greens are happy to see aviation continue to grow, even at public expense, while the public transport which people depend on day by day in Scotland gets more and more expensive. This change would, if accepted, make an already climate-busting budget worse.”

On this specific issue, today’s documents from the Finance Committee include a recommendation from the Parliament’s Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee that “Support for Air Services spend should be increased by

Contact: James Mackenzie
Phone: 0131 348 6360 or 0790 99 33 074