The SNP has called for Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson to apologise after she falsely claimed that the Scottish Government had cut the budget for the Food Standards Agency by £1 million.
Ms Davidson made the claim in the Holyrood chamber yesterday during First Minister’s Questions.
However it has emerged that the FSA’s budget has not been cut and that the organisation had in fact forecast an underspend of that amount.
Ridiculing the latest blunder from Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson, SNP MSP Rob Gibson said:
“This is the latest gaffe from a particularly gaffe-prone leader. In her desperation to play politics with a very serious issue, Ms Davidson has tried to pass off an underspend as a budget cut.
“Of course, the budget for meat hygiene inspection comes from a UK-wide FSA budget – which is being cut by the UK Government. So if Ruth Davidson is so concerned about this budget, perhaps she should speak to her Tory bosses in Westminster.
“Richard Lochhead has acted quickly and decisively to protect Scotland’s consumers and its highly-valued meat industry, and it seems Ms Davidson is doing her very best to cause alarm among the public and businesses.
“Ms Davidson has made such a big play of people returning to the chamber to correct their mistakes – it is time for her to live by her own standards, admit that she misled Parliament, and correct the record at the earliest opportunity.”
Confirming the budget had not been cut, an FSA spokeswoman said: “The FSA in Scotland’s budget has not been cut by Scottish Government, it has been maintained during the current spending review period.
“During the current financial year, due to various changes in aspects of the budget, the FSA in Scotland were forecasting an underspend against budget.
“Therefore, during the Scottish Government’s spring budget revision in January, the FSA returned GBP1 million of its allocated budget to Scottish Government.”
Davidson’s accusation comes as it emerges that a Scottish local authority has become the first in Scotland to be affected by the horsemeat scandal.
North Lanarkshire Council has revealed that food at one of its schools was found to contain traces of horsemeat.
The Labour run council refused to reveal the name of the school but confirmed that a frozen burger had been tested by the FSA and that this revealed traces of horse DNA.