Politicians clash over support for job creation in Moray

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REVELATIONS THAT MORAY along with Aberdeenshire are the worst performing regions in Scotland in terms of job creation has led to criticism of the Scottish Government.

Douglas Ross MP described it as “shocking” that his own Moray constituency is performing well below the national average for general, female and youth unemployment.

The MP insists that in spite of that, the north east has continued to receive poor financial support from the First Minister and her government when compared to the central belt.

He said: “There is no doubt that the decline in employment in the oil and gas sector has impacted on our figures and, for that reason, the recent announcement in the UK Government’s budget for support for the industry is welcome.

“As is the freeze in whisky duty, which is a vital industry in Moray – but these gains are offset by the continuing neglect of our area by Holyrood which consistently pour resources into other regions of Scotland instead.

“We have just learnt that Moray Council, which delivers many vital services for local people, faces having to make even more cuts in-order to deliver its budget.

“This is directly due to the poor financial settlements it has received from Holyrood – and we have continued bad news from NHS Grampian, with services provided by Dr Gray’s Hospital being eroded with the hospital struggling to recruit junior doctors, not helped by Scotland’s reputation as the highest taxed part of the UK. NHS Grampian receives less money than any other area in Scotland.”

The MP also challenged Moray’s MSP, Richard Lochhead, to fight the corner for Moray, adding: “It’s about time the SNP woke up to the challenges facing Moray and the North East of Scotland and gave us some support. I would also like our local MSP to make representations to the Scottish Government on our behalf which he has so far conspicuously failed to do.”

Last night Richard Lochhead MSP hit back at the comments from the Conservative MP, saying: “When it comes to jobs, our Tory MP needs to remember that most of the economic levers are the responsibility of the UK Government – and it is also ironic that the Conservative Party are arguing for lower taxes but higher public spending which of course is simply not a credible position.

“For instance, if the Tory tax plans were adopted NHS Grampian would have £49.5million less to spend.

“Moreover, the UK Government has cut the Scottish budget by £500million over the next two years – Mr Ross should perhaps spend a little more time standing up for Moray in Westminster and protecting Moray from his party’s vicious policies, rather than ranting against the SNP Government in Scotland.

“It also happens to be the case that local businesses are telling me that the Tory Party’s handling of Brexit is the biggest threat to jobs in Moray.”