Tag Archives: Budget

Scottish Government Underspend a body blow for Angus investment

Angus Liberal Democrats have reacted angrily to news that the SNP Government has left £444 million unspent last year, despite closing key services across Angus and failing to invest in local infrastructure.

Accounts have emerged showing that the Scottish Government has underspent:

  • £92 million on Justice
  • £10 million on the Procurator Fiscal Service
  • £102 million on Infrastructure
  • A whopping £165 million on Education
Sanjay Samani and Cllr David May visit the Closed Police Counter in Montrose

Sanjay Samani and Cllr David May visit the Closed Police Counter in Montrose

Lib Dem Campaigner for Angus, Sanjay Samani said,

“The SNP have been steadily closing down services in Angus. They have closed Sheriff’s Courts, Police Counters, Noranside Prison and Angus College. They have failed to build a flyover at Laurencekirk that we desperately need to protect drivers. Yet in all these departments there was plenty of money left to be spent.”

“Meanwhile our SNP elected representatives, Mike Weir MP, Nigel Don MSP and Graeme Dey MSP, have done absolutely nothing to stop the closure of key Angus services by their SNP colleagues in Edinburgh. This has cost Angus jobs, made it harder for students to study, left Laurencekirk junction unsafe and had a negative impact on our local economy.”

“The SNP have blamed all the cuts on Angus services on Westminster, and yet they had close to half a billion pounds left to invest.”

Lib Dem Montrose Cllr David May said,

“As an ex-teacher and head master, I am appalled to see £165 million go unspent on Education. The merger of Angus College with Dundee and loss of hundreds of college places has had a huge impact on our young people, just trying to get on in life.”

“In Montrose we have a major issue with parking on double yellow lines that are not being policed due to SNP cuts, that they have blamed on Westminster, despite having £92 million left over.”

“Sanjay and I have backed Jill Fotheringham’s campaign for a flyover at Laurencekirk for many years. The news that on Infrastructure £102 million was left unspent will be a body blow for those desperate to see safety at the junction improved.”

Sanjay Samani concluded,

“We have an SNP MP and two SNP MSPs who have badly failed Angus residents. This year they will blame cuts on Westminster to gain votes at the General Election. Then we will see a big spending spree in the run up to Scottish Elections in 2016 and they will try to claim the credit.”

“The SNP need to stop playing politics and start investing in Angus.”

Scottish Budget boost for Colleges

Angus and Mearns candidate Sanjay Samani has welcomed the major concessions to this year’s Scottish Budget secured by Liberal Democrat MSPs which will help Aberdeen, Angus and Dundee Colleges.

Concessions made to the Liberal Democrats include:

  • Additional funding for FE bursaries of £15 million, spread across 2010-2011-12 to provide additional student support for current student numbers.
  • Additional funding of £8 million in 2011-12 that would support an additional 1,200 college places and associated student support.
  • 1,500 additional Modern Apprenticeships, including 500 places for the renewables sector, at a cost of £2 million
  • 2,000 additional flexible training opportunities

Sanjay commented,

“40,000 students across Scoltand were going to have their budgets slashed by the SNP Government, but this has been reversed thanks to the Lib Dems working hard for you at Holyrood.”

“This is a better budget than the SNP presented in November.  It is better for young people in the Mearns wanting the skills they need to find jobs, helping our local economy.  It is  better for colleges in Angus, Dundee and Aberdeen, that will be able to provide more opportunities.   And it is better for Angus and Mearns businesses that will be able to take on more apprentices.”

“It is also great to hear that the National Union of Students support what we have done.”

Commenting Liam Burns, President of NUS Scotland, said:

“This is great news and testament to the hard work of thousands of college students across Scotland and the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Students across colleges and universities have mobilised fantastically well, with over 32,000 letters and emails sent to MSPs on this issue.

“To win £15m college bursaries, and £8m for college places, in a budget which is being cut is a fantastic result.  We hope this will now end the yearly ritual of college bursaries running out and end the threat of cuts to 40,000 of our poorest students.”

Post Office Diversification Fund in Scottish Budget welcome

I am congratulating the Scottish Lib Dems for their successful inclusion of the Post Office Diversification Fund in the Scottish budget. The diversification fund will help secure the future of local post offices by helping them offer a wider range of goods and services to their communities.

The news that a Post Office Diversification Fund has been included in the budget is great news for Angus villages and towns. With state owned banks refusing to lend to sound Scottish businesses at reasonable rates, the fund will assist post office owners to expand and widen their services. By helping the businesses become more profitable, it will hold off the risk of closure.

I learned that the risk of further closures is still serious. Under the last Tory government over 4,000 Post Offices were closed. Under Labour 608 more in Scotland have closed, and yet the boss of Royal Mail is paid a salary of more than £1 million.

Post Offices are essential services in many towns and villages across Angus. I visited Glamis Post Office, which is the last remaining shop in the town. It was saved from closure by a hard fought campaign by the owners, Hugh and Ann Nicoll and local residents. Its success is partly due to expanding the range of goods sold, and it is now the village shop as well as a Post Office. In spring and summer, their cafe provides lovely refreshments for tourists and locals.

Not all villages can count on a strong campaign in defence of their Post Office. The Diversification Fund secured by Scottish Liberal Democrats at Holyrood will ensure a fair chance for all village Post Offices to stay open.

Sanjay visiting Glamis Post Office with Cllr Alison Andrews and owner Hugh Nicoll