Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton today said the SNP are pulling the wool over the eyes of Scottish businesses as answers to parliamentary questions revealed it will be months before applications for a flagship economic scheme are considered.
Mr Cole-Hamilton was speaking after the Scottish Government were unable to confirm whether payments under the Scottish Growth Scheme (SGS) will be made before September 2017. They also failed to answer parliamentary questions on whether applications for financial support will be managed by public sector staff, and which organisations are expected to ask for loan support as opposed to investment guarantees.
The SGS was the economic centrepiece of the First Minister’s Programme for Government statement last month.
Commenting, Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“Businesses were promised a £500m rescue package that would help ensure that they get the investment they need and protect jobs. But more than a month after Nicola Sturgeon announced this support, the Scottish Government cannot even tell us whether they expect any money to be paid out by this time next year.
“The First Minister told the Parliament that this was an exceptional scheme to meet an exceptional economic challenge. The only thing that is exceptional about it so far is the complete lack of any detail of how the scheme will operate. We have been left totally in the dark. Businesses will feel that the First Minister is pulling the wool over their eyes.
“Nicola Sturgeon has had civil servants burning the candle at both ends to prepare a draft referendum bill. It is a shame she has not brought the same sense of urgency to supporting businesses and keeping people in work.”