Iain Gray today led criticism of John Swinney’s decision to reject £1.1 billion of funding for the new Forth crossing.
The money had been offered following discussions between the SNP government, the Scotland Office, and the Treasury.
Iain Gray, Labour’s Scottish Parliament leader, , said:
“This bizarre refusal confirms that the SNP’s gut instinct is always to play politics, rather than to work in the interests of Scotland.
“John Swinney has now put our biggest construction project on ice, because the funding package isn’t to his liking.
“It is sheer petulance. He is happy to damage the whole project, rather than work with the Labour Government. It seems party politics has blinded him to common sense – because the delay will cost Scotland jobs.
“The Government’s offer of a £1 billion package represents a serious and sensible way of funding the new Forth bridge. Each of their arguments for rejecting it is as spurious as the next.
“At the heart of the issue is the reluctance of the Nationalists to work together for a better future. They are not playing their part to stimulate the Scottish economy.
“The timing is suspicious, coming as it does ahead of the SNP conference. Mr Swinney’s move is more an appeal to his party’s die-hard nationalists than a serious act of governance.”
Andy Kerr, Scottish Labour’s shadow cabinet secretary for finance and sustainable growth, added:
“Mr Swinney said himself that the Scottish Futures Trust would fund the Forth crossing – but we know it won’t.
“When the UK Government tries to help him out a problem of his own making, he prefers to pick fights than put the needs of the Scottish people and economy first.
“Just this week, the Scottish Parliament told Mr Swinney that the SFT was an obstacle to progress. Here he is creating more obstacles.
“People who are depend on it deserve nothing less.”