The SNP’s Gordon MacDonald has a habit of issuing misleading leaflets and his most recent one is no exception. Let’s look at some of his claims.
Claim #1: The SNP Government has invested £12 billion in the NHS.
Reality: We know that in real terms the SNP have cut NHS spending, whilst in England spending has increased. Put simply, the SNP are short-changing our NHS.
Claim #2: The NHS in Scotland now employs an extra 10,000 staff.
Reality: When the SNP were elected in 2007 the NHS had 131,094 members of staff. It now has 137,727, that’s an increase of 6633 (not 10,000). Since 2009 staff numbers have increased by 1.5% in Scotland, whilst in England the increase has been over double that – 3.5%:
Labour increased NHS Scotland’s workforce by 19.5%:
Claim #3: The SNP have invested £900 million on transport.
Reality: Duelling the A9 is great news, but has Mr MacDonald seen the state of the roads in his constituency? Major thoroughfares resemble the surface of the moon as he voted to cut the council budget.
Claim #4: The SNP have maintained 1000 extra police officers.
Reality: Mr Macdonald is proud of this flagship policy. To maintain the police numbers and balance the budget, Police Scotland must cut administrative posts and have police officers take on more paperwork. This is not new – even before Police Scotland was formed the SNP were boasting that they’d appointed “1000 new officers”, but failed to mention that half these officers took the place of 972 sacked civilian workers. Unison’s George McIrvine: Police officers being paid around £35,000 a year are now doing the jobs previously performed by civilian specialists on £25,000.
Claim #5: The SNP have built or “refurbished” 526 Schools in Scotland since 2007.
Reality: This is great, but what is happening inside them? We now have 4,000 fewer teachers in Scotland. Numeracy is falling. Literacy is falling. Worst of all, after 9 years of an SNP Government, the gap between the richest and the poorest is getting wider.
Claim #6: If elected the SNP will build 50,000 affordable homes.
Reality: Shelter Scotland say 60,000 are needed and that’s what Labour would build.
It’s time for change
Whilst Mr Macdonald’s leaflet contains a few misleading statements, what is not there is more interesting. It contains nothing about what Mr Macdonald has done for Edinburgh Pentlands or what the Scottish Government has done for the area.
So why is he so quiet about his record? Perhaps it’s because parts of Mr Macdonald’s constituency have the highest burglary rate in Scotland, but he has not raised a single question about Police Scotland’s performance in Holyrood? Perhaps it’s because NHS Lothian is underfunded and overstretched, but he is doing nothing?
Edinburgh Pentlands does not need a “business as usual” MSP, it needs somebody who will fight to improve public services and ensure the poorest in the constituency get a fair deal.