East Dunbartonshire politicians in pothole cash clash
A row has blown up between Conservative and SNP'¨politicians in East Dunbartonshire over the condition of '¨the area's roads.
Local MSP Maurice Golden and the joint leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, Councillor Andrew Polson are calling on the Scottish Government to use Westminster’s new pothole fund, which they say is worth £41 million to Scotland.
They say this cash was included in the recent budget from Chancellor Philip Hammond and should now be committed by the SNP in their own budget next month.
But Milngavie SNP MSP Gil Paterson has accused the Tory politicians of “stunning hypocrisy.”
He said: “The UK Government have cut Scotland’s budget by nearly £2 billion since 2010/11.
“The Scottish Government has had to spend almost £1bn plugging the gap caused by the UK Tory Government’s refusal to fund issues they are responsible for like broadband, the bedroom tax and other welfare responsibilities.
“At the same time, in the Scottish Parliament, their Tory colleagues voted to cut the Scottish budget by £500m.
“The Tories vote for Scotland’s funding to be cut in Westminster, demand tax cuts and then plead for more money to be spent in Scotland – it just doesn’t add up”.
However, Mr Golden said the state of local roads was one of the most common complaints he received from local residents.
He added: “With winter upon us, the situation is only going to get worse.
“That is why the extra investment from the Chancellor is extremely welcome and I would encourage the SNP Government to use this funding to sort out the roads in East Dunbartonshire.
“Our roads have been neglected for too long as a result of the SNP cutting local authority budgets.
“It’s now up to Derek Mackay to deliver real investment in his Budget in order to make our roads better for locals and visitors.”
According to Mr Golden, the Scottish Conservatives have previously called on the Scottish Government to introduce pothole fund which local authorities could use to repair roads.
Councillor Polson added: “The SNP Government have no excuses when it comes to fixing East Dunbartonshire’s roads – the millions are there to be spent.
“In terms of attracting people to live and work in this region, having good quality roads is absolutely essential and as leader of East Dunbartonshire it is a top priority for the council.
“The SNP must now enable councils like East Dunbartonshire to use this extra funding in order to fix our pothole ridden roads once and for all.”
Mr Paterson responded: “It’s hard to believe the brass neck of the Tories who, in years gone by, couldn’t even get their council tax banding right and ended up with a bill for £1/4 million.
“The Scottish Finance Secretary gave East Dunbartonshire £157,000 additional funding last April as its share of an extra £10 million for roads maintenance throughout Scotland.
“The Tory/Libdem administration on East Dunbartonshire Council should get on and spend this extra funding on local roads.”