9 March 2018
Highlands & Islands Regional MSP, Rhoda Grant asked the Government by means of a Parliamentary Question if it would consider providing ring-fenced additional funding for The Highland Council and Argyll and Bute Council in relation to road repairs, in light of their responsibilities to maintain over 7,000 km and 2,000 km of roads respectively.
In his response, the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, advised that the Scottish Government were committed to working with local government to help improve the condition of all roads in Scotland and claimed they were treating councils fairly.
“ This is the same rhetoric from the Scottish Government that we have to consistently listen to. Basically it is the fault of the UK Government who are giving us less money.
“The Scottish Government are responsible for setting out the Scottish budget and this year they managed to get the budget passed with the support of the Greens.
“Scottish Labour is accused by them of not supporting their budget plans which is true, because we had an alternative plan that would have meant a higher increase in tax and rates set out that meant the rich pay more and the poorer and less well-off pay less.
“Had the Government gone down this route this would have generated more funding to allow Local Authorities to provide a standard level of community service and social care, including extra money for road maintenance.
“The facts speak for themselves.
“In Scotland we have a £1.2 billion cost in relation to the backlog of road repairs required to bring them up to standard and if we want to tell tourists that Scotland is open for business, we need good connectivity and good roads infrastructure to encourage them to come and continue to enjoy all the iconic scenery, the historic attractions and flavour all that is good about Scotland.
“Leaving Councils to struggle to maintain their roads is not the answer and to repeat what I previously stated in Parliament, It is now a well known statement in the Highlands that drivers say they used to drive on the left of the road, but now they drive on what’s left of the road.
“This is not scaremongering, this is fact.”