Danish example proves Lamont wrong on bridge contracts

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By a Newsnet reporter

SNP MSP Colin Keir says Labour’s plan to stop construction of the Forth Crossing is putting jobs and funds at risk – and says Labour should know the restrictions of EU law after efforts by Denmark to restrict contracts to domestic firms ended up with the country being fined by the EU.

The Danish Government was fined after it was found in breach of its EU Treaty obligations after it tried to specify that it had to be national companies to carry work on its Storebælt Bridge.

Ms Lamont recently called on the First Minister to halt contracts and order a review in order to ensure that contracts went to Scottish companies.

Mr Keir, whose constituents work on the crossing, says it is completely hypocritical of Johan Lamont to call for advantage to be given to Scottish companies considering that her party wrote the procurement rules which were passed in 2006.

Colin Keir, who represents Edinburgh Western, said:

“Labour would let hundreds of Scottish workers lose their jobs and millions of pounds wasted just to end construction on the bridge.

“The Denmark case shows exactly what would happen if we went down the route Labour is calling for. We wouldn’t just see jobs lost and money wasted but the government could well end up in court facing fines for acting unlawfully.

“It is extremely disappointing the Labour party continues its scaremongering campaign saying Scottish firms are not gaining from the project. Instead they should be actively encouraging them to apply. There are 88 contracts currently available and many more to come.

“It is time for Ms Lamont and her party to stand up for the people of Scotland and acknowledge the benefits the Forth Replacement Crossing is bringing to our economy.

“Those already working on the FRC will be deeply concerned at Labour’s plans. No-one wants to see jobs lost, contracts scrapped and millions added to the bill, so why does Labour?

“It is anticipated 1,200 people will work directly on the crossing when construction reaches its peak, not to mention the many more who will be employed through subcontracts and supply orders across the country.

“The SNP Government is committed to ensuring Scottish firms continue to benefit from the FRC. But it is utterly ridiculous that Labour – who hail themselves as the party for workers – are advocating a plan that would see hundreds of jobs lost.”