Opposition parties must prevent cuts to Air Passenger DutyPublished 06 May 2016 by Lotti Lancaster
Election success for SNP, Tories and Greens provide opportunities for sustainable transport
Transform Scotland’s director Colin Howden responds to the 2016 election results:
“We’re happy to send our congratulations to the Scottish National Party in its re-election as the Scottish Government, and to those, both new and returning, elected as Members of the Scottish Parliament. We look forward to working with the Parliament to press the case for sustainable transport.
“The SNP had many welcome commitments in its manifesto, such as investing in the inter-city rail network, new rail reopenings, smart ticketing, average speed cameras and tackling climate emissions. We were especially pleased that the SNP expressed their determination to meet their 10% cycle target by 2020. Meanwhile, the Transport Bill to which they have committed should provide opportunities to improve Scotland’s bus services.
“The four opposition parties all featured in their manifestos strong opposition to cuts to Air Passenger Duty. It is now imperative that they prevent the SNP from carrying out a series of environmentally irresponsible tax cuts which would both worsen social inequalities and damage the prospects for Anglo-Scottish rail services.
“In their manifesto, the Conservatives made very welcome commitments towards rail investment, and in particular pushed the case for a reinstated direct rail route north from Edinburgh to Perth, which we have called for in our own ‘Inter-City Express’ campaign. We were also very pleased that they set out an aim to provide ‘at least one segregated cycle route in each of Scotland’s seven cities’, another of our priorities.
“The Greens also look likely to play a key role in this next Parliament, whether working with the SNP or holding them to account. Their manifesto set out numerous welcome commitments, including 10% of the transport budget for active travel, reopening of the Levenmouth rail line, and clearing the road maintenance backlog. However, it will be vital that the Greens do not support SNP budgets that continue to pour ever-increasing amounts of cash into new road-building.”
“The next major decision on transport that the returning Scottish Government will have to face is the award of the Clyde and Hebridean ferry franchise. The existing operator, CalMac, have done an admirable job in managing the service and we would be deeply concerned at its removal from public hands.”