Saturday, 24 October 2009

Scottish National Party candidate David Kerr said today that electing an SNP MP is Glasgow North East would send a message loud and clear to London Labour: Glasgow's Commonwealth Games will not be denied its fair share of Olympic regeneration money.

Mr Kerr, who was joined on the campaign trail today by SNP Leader Alex Salmond and Depute Leader Nicola Sturgeon, said that Glasgow deserves the same deal as London and that, if elected, he will pressurise the Treasury to pay Scotland the Barnett consequentials generated by regeneration investment around the London 2012 Olympics.

Spending by the UK Government on regeneration around the London Olympics should generate 165m - 33m per annum over the five years to 2012-13 - for Scotland under the Barnett formula. The expenditure is on areas such as regeneration and there is a strong case argued by all three devolved administrations that this spending should rightly be subject to the Barnett formula in the normal way.

However, as the First Minister told delegates at the SNP's 75th Annual Conference, the Treasury has flatly refused the Scottish Government's request to access the money.

Speaking from Dennistoun today, Mr Kerr said: "Glasgow deserves the same deal as London.  It is ridiculous that Labour are spending money regenerating London's East End whilst denying the same funding to the Scottish Government for Glasgow.

"The Commonwealth Games is as important to Glasgow as the Olympics are to London. The Scottish Government is putting in 80% of the funding for the Commonwealth Games - but we are doing it without the 33 million a year of regeneration funding that should be coming Glasgow's way.

"If London can get central funding to regenerate their East End because of the Olympics why should Glasgow not get the Barnett Consequentials from this spending to help regenerate the city following the Commonwealth Games? It would enable the Scottish Government to take measures that support jobs and ensure Glasgow emerges from this recession stronger than ever.

"Glasgow is already feeling the pinch of the London Olympics. This week we heard that Glasgow's St Andrews Cathedral cannot secure the funding from the Heritage Lottery because Olympic projects are putting a huge strain on funding streams. Every week we hear of small community projects struggling to secure the cash they need because so much money is flowing south.

"Nowhere does this matter more than in Glasgow North East. After 12 years of a Labour government and 74 years of Labour control this constituency has the worst unemployment record in Scotland. By denying the Scottish Government access to this money, Labour is letting Glasgow and Glasgow North East down.

"If elected, I will be a strong local voice for Glasgow North East.  I will speak up for this community and fight for a fair share of the funding we deserve. Glasgow North East must not lose out to London's East End. A vote for the SNP at this by-election is a vote to ensure that it doesn't."

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