The SNP’s broken promises

Submitted by Matthew on 5 October, 2016 - 10:30 Author: Dale Street

Chris Law has become the third of the SNP’s 2015 intake of MPs —elected on a promise of a “new politics”, free from traditional Westminster sleaze — to be investigated by the police about their financial dealings.

Law, who owns a £140,000 Aston Martin and has just put in a bid for an “offers over £620,000” castle, spent the 2014 referendum campaign touring Scotland in a 1950s Green Goddess fire engine painted in the colours of the saltire.

Allegations of embezzlement concerning donations made to the campaign are reported as the reason for Law being questioning by the police.

Natalie McGarry — elected as an SNP MP but no longer holding the SNP whip — has also been charged with embezzlement of funds from Women for Independence and her local SNP Association. A report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

The third SNP MP under police investigation, Michelle Thomson, who likewise no longer holds the SNP whip, is still awaiting the outcome of the ongoing investigation into a number of property deals which she and her husband were involved in.

Meanwhile other broken SNP promises have hit the news.

Scottish Government accounts revealed that student loans are the government’s largest financial asset.

They had increased by 11% over the past year and now amount to nearly £3 billion. Yet the SNP came to power with a promise to wipe out student debt.

A SNP promise of loans to farmers as a way of providing a financial cushion pending the payment of EU financial support has collapsed into chaos after the SNP Government admitted that it had miscalculated hundreds of loans .

The loans scheme had been introduced because of an earlier SNP failure to pay out EU support on time — the result of a malfunctioning computer system bought by the SNP Government which has already gone 74% over budget.

Other figures show an almost ten-fold increase in spending by Scottish MPs on Scotland-to-London business-class flights in 2015/16 compared with the previous year: up from £61,000 to nearly £600,000.

The explanation: unlike their predecessors, and two of three remaining non-SNP MPs in Scotland, SNP MPs fly business-class. (The one non-SNP MP who keeps the SNP MPs company on their business-class flights is, of course, a Tory.)

The same figures showed that nine of the ten MPs with the highest expenses claims were SNP MPs. Highest claimer of all was Michelle Thomson (£106,000). But SNP MP Steven Paterson, coming in at number five (£99,000), merits particular mention: He claimed £40 to pay for looking after a dog.

One 2015 election promise from the SNP was: “The SNP will never stop doing our best to make Scotland’s NHS the very best. Under the SNP Scotland’s NHS has been protected and improved.”

Figures released last week revealed: just over 28% of GP posts are currently vacant; the number of posts unfilled for more than six months has nearly doubled over the past year; waiting times for cancer treatment are at their worst level since records began; and over the last five years the number of radiologists has increased by 3% but their workload by 55%.

The SNP had a chance at Holyrood last week to deliver on its promise to the NHS, by voting for a Labour motion demanding that the Scottish Government “call in” for ministerial decision a series of cuts in services being proposed by local NHS Boards.

Instead, the SNP moved a wrecking amendment to the motion. When that was defeated, the SNP abstained on the final vote.

The SNP have also promised “security in retirement” and “better support for the most vulnerable in society and protection of pensioner benefits”.

But figures released last week showed that the SNP Holyrood government has cut £500 millions from the social care budget of Scottish local authorities, resulting in 12% of the elderly suffering a cut in the services they receive.

Sturgeon blamed the social care budget cuts on a Tory cut of 5% in funding to Holyrood. She must have attended the same accountancy course as Chris Law and Natalie McGarry. The SNP government’s cut to social care spending (11%) is more than double that.

Another promise which the SNP may come to regret was one made last week by SNP Glasgow councillor Jahangir Hanif. Speaking at a public meeting in his ward, Hanif promised that he would bring Sturgeon to see the appalling housing conditions in the Govanhill district.

But Hanif was then exposed as the landlord of a flat in one of the worst streets. According to the Daily Record:

“Hanif’s flat is at the top of a dilapidated close. It is infested with flies and has a shooting gallery for heroin addicts on the ground floor. The banister is broken and on the verge of collapse. There is a strong stench of urine throughout the building. The walls are filthy and the stairs are caked in grime.”

Hanif, who lives in a £700,000 house in Newton Mearns, charges a family of five adults £500 a month for that two-bedroomed flat. And why Sturgeon needs an invite from Hanif is a mystery: Sturgeon is the constituency MSP.

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