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Scottish Budget: Public transport loses out to more spending on new roads

Published 16 December 2015 by Colin Howden

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Scottish Budget: Public transport loses out to more spending on new roads


Transform Scotland [1] today (Weds 16-Dec) criticised the Scottish Government’s draft budget as a backwards step in delivering sustainable transport.

Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland, said:

“The budget delivers a massive hike in spending on new road-building whilst cutting investment in public transport. [2] Last week the First Minister was claiming leadership on climate change at the Paris Climate Summit. But this week it’s back to throwing money at the very thing that will ensure the Government continues to fail its climate targets.

“The budget contains a big cut in the rail budget [3] and a real-terms decrease in spending on buses. [4] There is better news for ferries, with a substantial increase. [5]

“We’re pleased that for the first time the Budget makes a clear statement on the level of funding that will go into walking and cycling, the most sustainable forms of transport. The Budget states that £39m will be invested in active travel. [6] This is just below the £39.2m that the Scottish Government said would be spent on active travel in the current year. [7] However, this remains less than 2% of the overall transport budget.” [8]



[1] Transform Scotland is the national sustainable transport alliance, bringing together rail, bus and shipping operators, local authorities, national environment and conservation groups, businesses and local transport groups.

[2] The ‘Motorways & Trunk Roads’ budget line (Table 12.01) increases from £694.8m to £820.3m. The sum of the ‘Concessionary Fares & Bus Services’, ‘Ferry Services’ and ‘Rail Services’ lines falls from £1,256m to £1,211.2m.

[3] Table 12.01: ‘Rail Services’ falls from £808.3m to £751.3m.

[4] Table 12.02.

[5] Table 12.01.

[6] Final para of p.130.

[7] See

[8] The total transport budget is £2,209.5m, a 6% increase from 2015-16 (£2,080.1m). Both figures from Table 12.01 (first six rows).