The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 11 December 2015

‘Tough choices’ for Scotland in wake of UK austerity

Chancellor cut ‘one in every eight pounds’

Finance Secretary John Swinney has warned Scotland faces ‘tough choices’ in the wake of UK austerity, ahead of the Scottish Government’s Budget next week.

The Deputy First Minister (pictured above) has made clear that, with even more cuts imposed on Scotland by the UK Government’s Spending Review last month, Scotland faces an unprecedented pressure on public expenditure.

Taken together with the cuts imposed since 2010, the Scottish Government’s Fiscal DEL budget – the discretionary budget - will be 12.5 per cent lower than it was for this Chancellor’s first budget.

Mr Swinney will detail his plans for the next year in Parliament next Wednesday 16 December.

Mr Swinney said: “The Chancellor has imposed real terms cuts on Scotland every year from now until 2020, and more than a billion pounds of those cuts are still to come between now and the end of the decade.

“We have demonstrated that the UK Government didn’t have to take this approach. Debt and the deficit could have been reduced without this scale of cuts that has been chosen by the Chancellor.

“Now Scotland has to deal with the reality of the Chancellor’s decision. We face tough choices in the coming days.

“Against this backdrop, the Scottish Government is determined that we will defend and protect the key priorities that the people of Scotland expect us to deliver on. Critical pillars of Scottish life – our schools, hospitals and police – will not be sacrificed to the Chancellor’s austerity obsession.

“In recent years we have been able to deliver better outcomes for the people of Scotland. More police, lower crime, better schools, tuition-free university education and a health budget that is at a record level.

“These commitments demonstrate the prioritisation of the Scottish Government. We are working to create a more inclusive economy, where every individual can fulfil their potential. That approach will be central to our Budget plans.”

Scotland’s Fiscal Departmental Expenditure Limit (Fiscal DEL) will have fallen by 12.5 per cent in real terms between 2010-11 and 2019-20 as a result of the Comprehensive Spending Review with 4.2 per cent of that reduction to come between now and 2019-20.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Ardrossan-Campbeltown ferry sets sail

Regular service brought in following successful pilot

A summer ferry service between Ardrossan and Campbeltown will be made permanent, Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay has announced.

The announcement follows a successful pilot service, which ran over the past three summers and transported an average of over 10,000 passengers and 2,000 cars per year.

The new service will be part of an enhanced summer timetable for CalMac services, which will be confirmed shortly and is due to come into operation next year. 

Mr Mackay said: “I’m very pleased to announce the ferry link between Ardrossan and Campbeltown will become a permanent feature of the CalMac summer timetable.

“The pilot service proved incredibly popular and I’m sure this announcement will be welcomed by passengers and the communities at either side of the route.

“This will be a real boost for the local economy, enhancing transport links to Campbeltown and the Kintyre Peninsula, as well as supporting the tourist trade by making it easier and more attractive for visitors.

“This new service is one of a number of enhancements being brought in as part of next year’s summer timetable, which will increase overall capacity across the Clyde and Hebrides network and make sure we get the most out of our ferry fleet.

“The enhanced timetable, along with our order for two new major vessels for the West Coast ferry fleet, underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to essential ferry services for the communities that rely on them and will ensure that our islands and remote communities remain attractive and accessible to visitors.”

CalMac's director of operations Drew Collier said: “Passenger numbers on this route during the trial confirm that the demand is there for a regular ferry link and we look forward to delivering this service next year in support of the local community in Campbeltown.”

CalMac will confirm the details of the enhanced timetable for the Clyde and Hebrides Services for summer 2016 in due course.