Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Mike Rumbles MSP has today accused the Scottish Transport Minister of misleading members of the Rural Economy and Connectivity committee about who has the authority to allocate funds from the Service Quality Incentive Regime (SQUIRe).
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf claimed that the decision on how to use the SQUIRe funds rested with the Scottish Government. However ScotRail boss Phil Verster confirmed that this money was contractually under their control. The release of the contract between Transport Scotland and rail operator Abellio has confirmed Mr Verster to be correct.
Speaking after questioning the minister at today’s Rural Economy and Connectivity committee, Mr Rumbles said:
“The SQUIRe funds were setup for funding improvements such as disabled access to stations. Instead the Scottish Government unilaterally made the decision to use the money for a sweetener for pass holders to make-up for months of government failures, delays and cancellations.
“The money to pay for that should have come from the Scottish Government but instead the SNP raided this ScotRail fund. It’s time for the Minister to come clean on that fact.
“The contract clearly states the role of the Scottish Government is to approve ScotRail’s use of the funds, not spend it thoughtlessly on a vanity project. The minister told the committee that the exact opposite was the case. That was misleading and he was wrong to do so.”