Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, has challenged Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP to deliver more Scottish Government funding for local authority roads.
His call comes after the SNP MSP pressed the Highland Council over the need to repair rural roads in Achterneed and urged them to listen to local people when allocating road funding.
Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson, has previously warned that despite additional funds being announced for Scottish local authorities at stage 2 of the budget, local authorities are still facing a core funding settlement cut from the Scottish Government of £250 million.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s Scottish budget stage 3 debate, Jamie Stone MP said:
“Kate Forbes will be aware that councillors are already listening to local people and that Highland Council roads teams are working as fast as they can, with very limited resources, to repair the worst stretches of roads across the North of Scotland.
“As a former councillor, I know how hard local authorities work to deliver key frontline services on a very limited budget. If Highland Council was better resourced by the Scottish Government, it would be able to dedicate a larger proportion of the budget to repairing our roads. If Kate Forbes wants these roads fixed there is no one better placed to make that happen than her and it's an act of great hypocrisy to suggest otherwise.
“I would be delighted to work constructively with the Finance Secretary to secure a better long-term settlement for our area. But unless she reverses the years of SNP cuts to local authorities, our road network in Highland is going to continue to suffer for the foreseeable future.
“It is shameful that Scottish councils are forced to beg the Scottish Government every single year, simply to reduce the amount of funding cuts that they face.”