Friday, 27 November 2009

The SNP, Scotland's anti-busines party

The leaders of the top 6 business organisations in Scotland, the CBI, the Scottish FSB, the Scottish CoC, the Scottish IoD, the SCDI and Scottish Financial Enterprise have all united in a campaign to get the decision to abandon GARL reveresed.

The group has a website..


The main element on the homepage is a letter to the Cabinet Secretary John Swinney...

"Dear Cabinet Secretary

Thank you for inviting our organisations to meet with you on Tuesday, 10th November, to discuss the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget for 2010/11. While we are not at one with you on every aspect of the spending plans, we found our discussion to be helpful and constructive.

One key area of disagreement with the Scottish Government, that we all share, concerns the decision to cancel the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) and we are writing to you now to reinforce the message that we conveyed to you at our meeting.

As we are sure you will be aware, the Scottish business community was extremely supportive of the GARL project and shared the view expressed by your Government that the project would provide a fast, direct public transport link between Glasgow Airport and the centre of the city. GARL’s attractiveness to the business community has never been in doubt, providing a positive impact on Scotland’s international connectivity, existing modes of transport to and from Glasgow Airport to ease congestion, and on the metropolitan area’s economy and that of Scotland as a whole. Furthermore, given the particular pressures on the construction sector in Scotland during this severe recession, GARL would provide a much needed boost to the sector and related employment.

When the procurement process for this project was announced, Scottish businesses supported the Transport Minister’s claim that progress with the project demonstrated the Government’s commitment to investing in crucial transport projects to promote sustainable growth in the west of Scotland and beyond. It was with deep disappointment, therefore, that we learned of the Government’s decision, without any forewarning or consultation, to renege on its commitment to GARL and we do not accept that there are insurmountable financial reasons for its cancellation. The Scottish Government has known for a considerable period about the more stringent times ahead for the devolved public finances, and the possibility of GARL’s cancellation was never stated to be in prospect.

In our view, the GARL project is not only desirable but affordable. It has been cancelled only as a result of the Scottish Government’s priorities lying elsewhere and Ministers’ decisions not to use the full range of funding options and revenue streams with regard to infrastructure development. In the spirit of partnership, we would be happy to sit down with the Scottish Government and others to discuss possible ways forward. We do hope that you will take our concerns seriously and seek to reintroduce GARL into the Government’s spending plans in the Draft Budget for 2010/11.

In recognition of the public interest in this issue, we are releasing this letter to the news media."

The letter is signed by

Iain M McMillan CBE, Director, CBI Scotland
Andy Willox OBE, Scottish Policy Convenor, FSB Scotland
David Watt, Director, IoD Scotland
Liz Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce
Dr Lesley Sawers, Chief Executive, Scottish Council for Development and Industry
Owen Kelly, Chief Executive, Scottish Financial Enterprise

Alex Salmond is fond of stressing the SNP's is the "business friendly" party.

Not any more, apparently...

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