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Scottish Government Programme for Government — Our response

Published 04 September 2018 by Transform Scotland

Commenting on today’s Scottish Government Programme for Government announcement, Transform Scotland director Colin Howden said:

“The Programme for Government contains much talk about low-carbon transport. But actual investment remains grotesquely skewed towards vastly-expensive high-carbon roads projects. The First Minister’s speech contained a long list of new road projects. [1] However, she was unable to mention a single new rail re-reopening, which is because the Scottish Government has committed to no new rail line re-openings over the past decade.

“There are some interesting initiatives in the Programme. The announcement of 1,500 new electric vehicle charge points, ‘Switched on Taxis’, and investment in Mobility as a Service will help to varying degrees in decarbonising transport. But the intended level of investment here is pitifully small compared to that being spent on the multi-billion road-building programme. [2]

“The announcement sees no additional investment in walking and cycling, the most healthy and sustainable modes of transport. There is also no new investment for bus services beyond the £1.7m for the previously-announced Scottish Green Bus Fund. The lack of new investment in buses is particularly tragic given the rapid decline seen in bus patronage in recent years. But while there’s no new funds for these most sustainable modes of transport, the Scottish Government has continued with its promise to hand a £300m per year tax cut to the aviation industry through the abolition of Air Passenger Duty.”

[1] The First Minister mentioned the Queensferry Crossing, M8 dualling, Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, Maybole Bypass and A9 dualling.

[2] At our last estimate, commitments to new road-building projects came to c. £9 billion. Transport Scotland’s annual budget is over £2 billion per annum, but these ‘low-carbon’ transport funds make up a very small share of its overall budget.