Not on the priority list

January 21st, 2011

We live in an area that has suffered through public spending cuts and we know the toll it can take on our community.

Despite the considerable progress we have made, the Thatcher years have left us with a legacy of low pay, high unemployment and above average level of public sector jobs due the decline in manufacturing jobs.

So it stands to reason that with public spending being cut again this year, Inverclyde would suffer a disproportionate impact and has to be protected when priorities were being set.

This was a point I made several times to the Finance Secretary John Swinney, on record in the parliament and by letter, warning him that we would suffer more from indiscriminate cuts unless he acted.

This week, his sympathetic response was exposed as nothing more than warm words.

Riverside Inverclyde was set up with public money by the last government to tackle the traditional inequalities in our area and they have made great progress in the last five years in improving our waterfront and attracting jobs and businesses to the area.

That has now been put in doubt by a savage 70 per cut to their budget with no firm commitment to the future, threatening our economic prospects.

And when Inverclyde made a bid to be part of the renewables industry of the future, creating hundreds of manufacturing jobs, we were shamefully snubbed.

To add insult to injury, it emerged this week that the cuts to our regeneration budget are to fund the creation of renewable bases in the north east and the Highlands.

The Scottish Government has set a clear message in its budget – Inverclyde is not on the priority list.