Salmond admits Forth Bridge will squeeze vital projects

For immediate release 16 March 2011

At a press conference today First Minister Alex Salmond confirmed that the "huge" cost of the additional Forth Road Bridge, alongside the commitment to the new Southern General in Glasgow, would "leave little room for further projects".

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"The SNP are getting ready to sign a multi-billion pound contract during the election because Alex Salmond wants to front up the most expensive photo-op this country will have ever seen, and to avoid the contract being scrutinised by Parliament. The reality is that the existing bridge can be repaired for a tiny fraction of the cost of this new project, and we now know exactly which services will pay the price. It is inexcusable of the SNP to press on with an additional bridge while handing on massive cuts to housing, education and energy efficiency, and leaving every community in Scotland without the funds to repair the potholed local roads which we all rely on every day of the week.

"We support the principle that Scottish Ministers should be able to borrow to invest, but we cannot accept the idea that generations of Scottish taxpayers should be saddled with the unnecessary burden this bridge would represent. A short delay, even to the summer, in awarding the contract would allow the work already underway on the existing bridge to be assessed, and for more preparatory work to be done on the repair option should that prove necessary."

Transcript of his press conference provided by media:
"We have two spectacularly large projects which are in the process of being contracted at the moment, the Forth Crossing and the Southern General. Now there are many other capital projects but these are of a huge scale; the Southern General will be about