Local MSPs Christine Grahame and Colin Beattie have criticised the Scottish Green Party for demanding a halt to improvements to Sheriffhall as a condition of them agreeing to the Scottish budget. As a minority government, the Scottish Government has to make a deal with at least one opposition party to get its budget passed, in this case the Greens.
The budget, negotiated by Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes MSP, will see measures including investments of £15 billion in health and care services, a £60 million overall budget increase for Police Scotland with £50 million of investment for frontline services and £95m of additional funding for local government, taking total Scottish Government support for local authorities to £589 million.
It will also include a £45m package of investment in low carbon projects to help tackle climate change, however the Greens have insisted Sheriffhall improvement plans are subject to review as part of their agreement. The Greens have long demanded a halt to what they see as road improvements, arguing roads should be left as they are so as to put people off of using their cars, having opposed work at Sheriffhall for some time.
Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, said:
“The review of planned improvements to Sheriffhall will simply cause the current bottleneck to continue with longer delays whilst vehicles spew out more fumes as they idle from the A1 to the Pentlands and on the A7 and A6106 because of the continuing congestion. Cyclists and pedestrians will also continue to not have safe passage across the bypass, plans for which are in the current improvement plans, and buses will be trapped in the tailbacks.
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, said:
“I understand why the Scottish Government have agreed to this pause in order keep our public services properly funded in other areas of the budget, however what the Green Party need to understand is that there is nothing Green about blocking these plans. The Sheriffhall upgrades include important provisions for cyclists and pedestrians which don’t currently exist. These upgrades are vital in offering alternative routes of transport in the constituency. These improvements are also urgently needed to improve the traffic flow of all vehicles, including public transport and the plans would lower emissions from idling cars. Anyone who uses the bypass regularly understands this is a major issue that needs to be addressing, and the Sheriffhall roundabout upgrades could be the solution to this issue.
“I have no doubt our constituents will remember this when they go to the ballot box next year.”
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