THE Scottish Government has been criticised for failing to provide a local authority with the funds to deal with a “bridge crisis”.
Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg branded the Scottish Government’s use of taxpayers’ money as “wasteful”.
Aberdeenshire Council is responsible for around 1,500 bridges across the region and lacks the cash to repair or rebuild damaged or destroyed structures.
Abbeyton Bridge over the B966, which serves the Fordoun and Auchenblae area, had to be demolished last Christmas.
Last month the council said seven bridges were damaged or even swept away during heavy rain.
The authority said the seven bridges affected were between Millcroft and Plaidy, at Mill of Balmaud, at South Mains near Craigston Castle, at North Litterty near Craigston Castle, at Bridge of Gorrachie and at Bridge of Fortrie.
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie has campaigned for funding for the project, as well as for Park Bridge over the Dee near Drumoak in his constituency. At Westminster he asked the Leader of the House of Commons for an official discussion.
Mr Bowie asked: “The Leader of the House might not be aware of the crisis in my constituency, with first Abbeyton bridge and then Park Bridge declared unsafe and closed, owing in part to swingeing budget cuts to Aberdeenshire Council from the SNP-run Scottish Government.
“Can we have a debate about how we can get direct UK Government funding for crucial infrastructure projects that are made impossible by budget cuts to local authorities by the Scottish Government?”
Mr Rees-Mogg replied: “It is sad to see how wasteful the SNP is of taxpayers’ money and how badly it manages to administer Scotland.
“The union is good for everybody and works for the whole of the United Kingdom.
“He makes a good point about whether there are ways of directing money, but the devolution settlement is very important and needs to be respected.”
A spokesman for Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We will take no lectures from Tories like Jacob Rees-Mogg, whose extreme Brexit plans see Scotland singled out for unfair treatment and which threaten to be devastating for jobs across the north-east and the rest of the country. The reality is that the SNP Government is delivering huge benefits for north-east transport, such as the AWPR – a project which the Tories failed to deliver.”