Scottish Liberal Democrat MP, Alistair Carmichael, has called for accountability over SNP financial missteps after it emerged that over £500m of Scottish Government guarantees and hundreds of jobs could be at risk due to the collapse of Greensill. The concerns come after a series of failed SNP investments including the Ferguson shipyard and BiFab.
Scottish Government ministers have claimed that “commercial confidentiality” prevents a full explanation of the risk to taxpayers and the lack of progress on jobs.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Carmichael said:
“Where significant sums of taxpayer money are concerned, commercial confidentiality should not be a barrier to full accountability. The Secretary of State will be aware that the Scottish Government is out for guarantees north of £500m as a consequence of Greensill’s difficulties. Is that not something for which there really ought to be full explanations?”
Responding for the Government, Kwasi Kwarteng MP said:
“He is absolutely right. My understanding is the Scottish Government is very exposed to Greensill’s financial engineering, and I think that there should be far greater transparency in that regard.”
Reacting after the exchange Mr Carmichael said:
“They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and apparently an SNP photoshoot and grandstanding over jobs that never materialise is worth risking £500m of taxpayer money. SNP ministers told us five years ago that the multiplier and supply chain impacts in Lochaber from their £500m guarantee would be worth 2,000 jobs. Are we ever going to see them?
“The pattern over the past few years is clear: the SNP splash the cash, turn up to get their picture taken and then the whole edifice slowly topples over. Is it too much to expect someone – anyone – to take responsibility for actually delivering on jobs?”
Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP candidate for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Denis Rixson said:
“Many in Lochaber will have listened to the media reports in recent weeks with considerable anxiety. It is the responsibility of the Scottish Government to deal with this at the highest level. Local people want proper answers from ministers on these issues so that we can have confidence for the future.”