By Alexandra Wingate
First Minister Alex Salmond has attacked Scottish Conservatives
for acting to aid the interests of the UK Tory party, rather than that of the Scottish people.
The comments came during today’s First Minister’s Questions after Mr Salmond was asked, no less than three times, about the number of international companies investing in Scotland. This follows Tuesday’s opening of Amazon’s distribution and customer service centres in Fife and Edinburgh respectively. These openings are expected to create more than 3,000 permanent and temporary jobs in Scotland.
Mr Salmond said: “While the success in this investment is not recognised by the opposite benches in this government, it is recognised by the Tory party in the North East of England.”
He went on to explain that Linda Arkley, Conservative mayor of North Tyneside, has been well-documented in her interest in what Mr Salmond described as “the success and firepower of Scotland in attracting thousands of jobs.” He claims that Mrs Arkley has been lobbying George Osborne in an attempt to force these investments to be moved away from Scotland and into the North East of England.
Mr Salmon continued: “The dangerous thing is that this lady, after lobbying, said, quote, ‘Ministers have agreed to look at this’, unquote. So what action have Westminster ministers got in mind to dissuade international companies?”
“I hope that at least this parliament can be united by welcoming the investment by Amazon and other companies who are expressing more confidence in Scotland than is held by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer.”
The issue of money and investment in Scotland featured highly in Mr Salmond’s answers. When Scottish Conservative David McLetchie MSP congratulated Mr Salmond’s recent success in solving the recent fossil fuel levy row with Westminster – which resulted in a windfall of £100m from the UK Treasury – Mr Salmond retorted: “They think it a tremendous triumph to get 50% of Scotland’s money. Wouldn’t it be better to get 100% of Scotland’s money?”
“The other 50% of Scotland’s money is going to help capitalise the Green Investment Bank. Is that not yet another reason for the Green Investment Bank being headquartered in Scotland?”