Minister defensive over raid on station improvement fund

Funds that could be used to improve disabled access to railway stations have been reallocated by the Scottish Government to pay for their £1.8 million give-away for season pass holders. 

The Transport Minister was indignant while being grilled by North East MSP Mike Rumbles about the misuse of Scotrail funds, in this morning’s meeting of the Rural Economy and Connectivity committee. Despite comments to the contrary offered by Scotrail chief Phil Verster last week, the Minister claimed that the fund is discretionary and can be used however the he sees fit.


Mr Rumbles said: “This fund is being used as a political sop by the SNP rather than on station improvements, such as disabled access for stations like Insch in Aberdeenshire.


“The Minister has denied any problem with an obvious disagreement between him and Scotrail over the use of the Squire Fund. But the chair of Scotrail told the committee only last week that this money for station improvement had been repurposed by the Scottish Government without his agreement.


“I have no problem with the Scottish Government making a one-time free give-away to pass holders, especially after their abysmal performance on rail this winter. But they should pay for it out of their own coffers and not by raiding funds that are essential to improving and investing in the future of the network.”



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