North East MSP Mike Rumbles, speaking in the chamber today, has slammed the Scottish Government for raiding £1.8 million from the coffers of Scotlrail’s Service Quality Regime Fund, to pay for its week of free travel.
Scotrail boss, Phil Verster, revealed to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee that money to pay for the Scottish Government’s freebie give away for season ticket holders would be reallocated from funds that could be used to improve access to Insch Railway Station for passengers of low mobility.
Speaking after the statement, Mr Rumbles described the smash and grab raid on funding, that could be used for rail improvements across the network, as ‘shocking’.
Mr Rumbles said: “The Transport Minister’s raid of £1.8 million from the service quality fund is nothing less than scandalous.
“This money was set aside to improve the quality of our rail service across Scotland, not to subsidise an SNP sweetener for commuters after a winter of failures, delays and cancellations.
“Local campaigners in Aberdeenshire have been crying out for disabled access to both platforms at Insch Station, but they have been turned down because it is ‘unaffordable’. What are they to think of this latest revelation?
“If the Scottish Government want to plough through with this plan they should pay for it themselves, and the service quality fund should be used for vital long-term projects like Insch Station.”