A war of words has broken out after the deputy leader of Angus Council slammed opposition critics who claim the council is a “junior partner” in the Tay Cities Deal – leaving the county “short changed.”
Councillor Angus Macmillan Douglas, who also serves as the coalition administration’s finance supremo said the “petty political point scoring” is harming the local economy, and accused the Scottish Government of “dragging their feet” on aspects of the deal.
However, the claims were met with a robust response from a Holyrood spokesperson who said the Scottish Government “is meeting our commitment in full.”
Mr Macmillan Douglas said: “This petty political point scoring for short term gain frankly flies in the face of the facts.
“The deal involves both the UK and Scottish Governments investing across Angus, Dundee, north Fife and Perth and Kinross.
“This money is intended to be a catalyst for partners in the private and public sectors to deliver a much greater economic and employment benefit for the whole region, and petty jealousies will only threaten the potential that the deal delivers.”
The £700 million deal initiative aims to create in excess of 6,000 jobs across Tayside and Fife.
The Scottish and UK governments have each committed to investing up to £150 million throughout a 10 to 15 year period.
Mr Macmillan Douglas added: “The UK government is planning to invest around £30m in Angus, and this represents some 20% of the total UK government investment in a county that contains some 20% of the population of the region – that’s not being short changed by any stretch.”
The deputy leader then rounded on the Scottish Government for “dragging their feet” on two projects mentioned in the deal.
He said: “The building of a rail head to connect Montrose port the UK-wide rail network the building a Montrose to A90 road link are matters devolved to the Scottish Government.
“However, there is little sign of movement on these key projects, and I would urge the SNP group on the council to get their Holyrood colleagues to deliver for Angus.”
The local authority sought to distance itself from the row.
An Angus Council spokesman said: “This is a personal and political view from Councillor Macmillan Douglas and accordingly, we will not provide further comment.”
A spokesperson for Scotland’s finance secretary, Derek MacKay, said: “Councillor Macmillan Douglas calls for an end to what he calls petty political point-scoring and then goes on to indulge in exactly that.
“The fact is that the UK Government reneged on the promises they made for the Tay Cities Deal – unlike the SNP Government which is meeting our commitment in full.
“As part of our previously stated commitment to invest £200 million in the area, the Scottish Government has already committed to invest £150 million in the Tay Cities Region Deal and further additional investment of £50 million into the Cross Tay Link Road and a regional Industrial Investment Programme.”