29 Dec 2012
More than £2 million of taxpayers’ cash set aside for SNP green transport initiatives is lying dormant in council bank accounts.
The Scottish Government has allocated millions in a bid to encourage councils to purchase and run electric vehicles.
But it has emerged more than £2 million of taxpayers’ money has still not been spent, with local authorities unsure of how to use it.
Some councils have not even spent a penny of their allocation.
The statistics obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through Freedom of Information also found that around a third of councils do not even have electrical charging points.
The Scottish Government wants to subsidise green vehicles as part of its Low Carbon Vehicle Support Scheme.
South Lanarkshire had the biggest underspend, with £309,000 unused, while Edinburgh has £280,000 unspent and Fife has £220,000 remaining.
The underspend means, of the £7.8 million allocated, around £5.5 million has been spent by Scotland’s local authorities on this programme since 2010.
Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Alex Johnstone MSP said:
“This makes a mockery of the SNP’s pandering to the green lobby, which is costing the taxpayer millions.
“What is the point in giving councils money to be spent on environmental initiatives which are clearly not a priority for them.
“Some don’t even have electrical charging points, which really does show just how ludicrous this obsession has become.
“What’s worse, this £2 million of unspent cash could have been used far more wisely in services people actually need and care about.
“Instead, we have this vast sum gathering dust while people’s cars are being damaged by potholed roads, teacher-pupils ratios are widening and council care workers are under even more pressure to meet demands.
“The SNP has already devoted nearly £8 million to green transport schemes – the least it could do is redeploy the remainder which would actually give Scotland’s councils a much needed cash boost.”