Scottish Liberal Democrat South of Scotland MSP Jim Hume has called on the Scottish Government to explain why the costs of its investment in Prestwick Airport soared from £15m to nearly £40m.
An Audit Scotland report published today (24th February) revealed that the revised business plan agreed in May 2014 showed taxpayers would loan the airport £39.6m by April 2021, but parliament was not informed of these details.
Shortly after the taxpayers’ loan was first announced, Scottish Liberal Democrats called for a considered and transparent business case to be made public to provide assurances about the long term future of the airport.
Commenting on the increase in cost, Mr Hume said:
“The cost of investing in Prestwick Airport to the taxpayer more than doubled but the SNP government kept that a secret. Meanwhile the forecast annual passenger growth rate has been nearly halved.
“Transparency from ministers over the business case is crucial to provide assurances about the airport’s long term future. People will want to know why this long term cost to the taxpayer of £40m was covered up. We already know SNP ministers took their eye off the ball during their referendum campaign but this important information should have been fully disclosed.
“The future success of Prestwick airport is important to the local community, the workforce and to taxpayers, which is why the SNP’s plan must be correct. SNP ministers should heed Audit Scotland’s calls and commit to regularly update parliament on this matter to ensure the highest possible level of public accountability.”