Thursday, 23 July 2009



An announcement by the LibDem leader Nick Clegg that they ditch key Lib Dem policies in an attempt to be more honest with voters about spending cuts has undermined his own self-styled Chief-of-Staff’s attempts to make un-costed demands for spending on roads says SNP Highlands and Islands MSP Dave Thompson.

Yesterday the LibDem leader announced that his party had to be "disciplined and honest" which has been followed today by his Chief-of-Staff, Danny Alexander, making demands for immediate funding in Highland roads.

Mr Thompson pointed put that it was already the LibDem’s policy to cut roads funding and that yesterday’s announcement just further undermines Danny Alexander’s spurious attack on the SNP Government.

Mr Thompson also pointed out that the LibDems failed to invest in one single major road project in the Highlands in the eight years they were in power with Labour.

Research already shows that the LibDems’ policy on roads is a chaotic mess with local demands for roads improvements contradicting the party’s national policy which would cut roads funding.

Mr Thompson listed the LibDems’ position on transport funding and roads which contradicts what they are telling voters at a local level:

* A Liberal Democrat policy signed by LibDem Scottish leader Tavish Scott is not to invest in roads - "We believe that building more roads and runways will not tackle congestion. We would invest in a proper public transport system, taxing lorries and domestic flights to invest in high speed rail." (See Note 1)

* As part of their UK 4p income tax policy which will see cuts of £20 billion across the UK the LibDems want to cut 90% of all major road projects

* Liberal Democrat MSPs voted for the £500 million Edinburgh tram project - diverting funds from other projects

* Liberal Democrats want to charge for usage of all motorways and trunk roads - a scheme supported by LibDems' Scottish leader Tavish Scott

Yet at the same time LibDems at a local level are demanding immediate or increased funding in roads projects which directly contradicts the policies they have and would enact in power.

Commenting on Mr Thompson said:

"Danny Alexander is being entirely dishonest and hypocritical with the Highland public. He is making demands that his party has no intention of delivering – in fact they will cut funding for Highland roads.

"And in the eight years in power with Labour, the London LibDems delivered little in terms of major road project and what was announced was subject to delay, dither and incompetence under two LibDem Transport Ministers!

"In contrast it is the SNP which is bringing forward an unprecedented number of plans to improve road transport across Scotland.

"The LibDems not only had eight years to deliver these improvements, and failed, they now actually have a policy that would mean no money and no new roads.

"Not content with diverting valuable cash, which could have been used for other transport schemes, to an Edinburgh project that even people in Edinburgh don't want – the LibDems in Holyrood and Westminster want to cut the funds and stop roads.

"We even have LibDems bidding against each other with Danny Alexander wanting money to be taken away from the new Forth Crossing. How will that go down with LibDem MSP Jim Tolson?

"The LibDems are notorious for trying to hoodwink the voters. They will say one thing on local doorsteps whilst hoping the voters don't notice what policies they are supporting in Holyrood and Westminster.

"A raft of LibDem MPs and MSPs has some questions to answer about why they are trying to hide this policy from people locally whilst supporting it when in Edinburgh and London?

"If we had a LibDem administration none of those projects would have had sufficient funding and the schemes they call for locally would never be started, far less finished.

"It's time the London-based LibDems told the truth to people across Scotland about their policy on roads and recognised the damaging impact their policies would have on the economy."

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