New SNP Depute will put independence over public services

Responding to Keith Brown becoming the new SNP depute leader, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

“Despite members of his own party’s growth commission being quite clear about the fact that independence would mean less money for public services, Keith Brown has said that he wants another independence referendum as soon as April 2019.

“Given Scotland’s growth rate continues to fall behind the rest of the UK, you would think the Economy Secretary might have other pressing commitments but it seems Keith Brown is just another SNP politician who will put independence ahead of our public services.

"We should be using the existing powers of the Scottish Parliament to boost investment in education and mental health and build a high wage, high skill economy.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats will oppose a second independence referendum at every stage of the process."

Here's nine things Keith Brown done since becoming Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work in May 2016

  1. A brush with recession in 2017 has been replaced by marginal economic growth which lags behind the rest of the UK.
  2. Almost two years on, the flagship £500 million Scottish Growth Fund still hasn't paid out a penny in loans or guarantees.
  3. Convinced the First Minister to sign a supposed £10bn agreement with two Chinese firms without any background checks, which would have revealed that one was linked to human rights abuses and the other only owned a pub. A role for which he was later forced to apologise to Parliament.
  4. Promised in March 2017 he would work to develop a "robust human rights impact assessment" process for companies the government was dealing with. This still hasn't been done.
  5. Oversaw eight months of delays to the opening of the Queensferry Crossing.
  6. Overseeing at least six months of delays to the Aberdeen Bypass. It is still unclear when it will open.
  7. As the Scottish Government's spokesperson on veterans affairs allowed the First Point veterans centre in Grampian to close.
  8. Didn't check what impact Heathrow expansion and more short-haul flights will have on Scotland's environment before backing it, despite campaigners saying air travel is one of the worst offenders for emissions.
  9. Proclaimed the takeover of engineering firm BiFab by Canadian firm DF Barnes was “a very good day” for employees and assured Parliament they had no intention of shedding further staff. Only 21 days later the new Scottish Government endorsed owners announced staff cuts.

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