Ayr MSPs have clashed on how they believe commitments set out in the 2021-22 Scottish budget will affect South Ayrshire.

Finance secretary Kate Forbes announced the first £20m of the 10-year £500 million being invested by the SNP Scottish Government into a Just Transition Fund. The investment will increase year-on-year.

There were also other spending commitments in the budget to make Scotland greener, including £350m towards decarbonising one million homes across Scotland, and the equivalent of 500,000 domestic homes by 2030.

However, Ayrshire MSP Sharon Dowey has said the Scottish Budget leaves South Ayrshire behind following its publication today by not including funding for crucial road upgrades, businesses or councils.

The Scottish Conservative MSP says that “it’s really disappointing” to not see the Scottish Government match the 75 per cent of rates relief provided for businesses in England and Wales by the UK Government, instead only providing 50 per cent.

She added: “The Scottish Government had a real chance with today’s budget to give Scotland’s Covid recovery a real boost but they’ve squandered that.

“The SNP know the A77 needs dualled and repaired. I’ve told them this time and time again.

“So why are we seeing them cut the budget for road improvements by almost £10million?

“They’re also short-changing councils, which means potentially further cuts to local services, while scrapping the council tax freeze could well mean higher taxes for Ayrshire residents.

“The Scottish Conservatives had a number of asks, like 75 per cent rates relief for businesses or the reinstatement of the help to buy scheme to help people get on the property ladder, but the SNP are more interested keeping their new friends in the Green Party happy rather than delivering for the people of Scotland.

“Kate Forbes said today that this budget is a budget of choices and It’s clear that the SNP have chosen to leave South Ayrshire behind.”

In contrast Siobhian Brown, SNP MSP for Ayr, welcomed commitments which she said set Scotland on a path to a just transition while securing hundreds of thousands of oil and gas


She said: “The SNP Scottish Government continues to recognise the importance of our ‘just transition’ away from fossil fuels – bringing jobs, communities and business along on that process to ensure that lessons are learned from the past and no one is left behind.

“The SNP is serious about our responsibility to move workers into green jobs for the future with £500m investment in the Just Transition Fund.

“We have already seen workers benefitting from the Green Jobs Fund with 750 green jobs already created through the project.

“It is disappointing that we do not see the same commitment to green jobs from the Tory UK government as they failed to invest in carbon capture, letting down the people across Scotland – they must immediately reverse that decision.

“This shows why we cannot trust the Tories to protect the future of energy jobs in Scotland. We must be able to choose a better future in an independent country.”