Over £2m worth of taxpayers’ cash that was given to Scotland’s councils to be spent on SNP green transport schemes is currently sitting around in bank accounts not being used. In order to encourage local authorities to use electrical vehicles for council services the Scottish Government gave authorities close to £8m.
Despite this fact, over two million pounds have not yet been spent, based on figures from Freedom of Information data. Some councils have not spent any of their funds yet and another third do not have any electrical charging points so that the green vehicles can be powered up.
The Scottish Government is working on promoting more environmentally-friendly forms of transportation and wants to forward their low-carbon vehicle support scheme by subsidizing its green vehicle use. Ministers believe that if electric vehicles are implemented with a huge uptake over the next few years they will be able to reduce carbon emissions in the country by more than 42% before 2020 rolls around.
The largest underspend is in South Lanarkshire where £309,000 is just sitting around whereas Edinburgh still has £280,000 left to be spent. Fife also has £220,000 left unused. In short, out of the £7.8m that councils were given only about £5.5m has actually been used by the local authorities.
Alex Johnstone, the Scottish Conservative transport spokesman, asked the SNP ministers that still have millions of pounds left over to redeploy the funds so that they can be used in key areas that do not have any funds. He added that there is not much use in giving councils funding if they do not need it, or do not feel like environmental initiatives are a priority.
Johnstone went on to say that it is even worse that two million pounds of the unspent cash that is sitting around could have been used to help take care of people. Instead of using the money, they have sums jut gathering dust while teacher-pupil ratios continue to widen, people’s cars get ruined in potholed roads and council care workers are having a harder time meeting demands.
Despite this fact, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has defended the situation explaining that the move to green transport transition cannot happen quickly. The Convention believes that the reason there is still money left behind is because the council is carefully planning out their financial use of the money and is simply taking their time to make the investment perfect.