OPPOSITION parties have attempted to increase pressure on the Scottish Government ahead of a crucial vote on court closures.
In an open letter, they have appealed to SNP members of the Holyrood justice committee to vote against plans to close 17 courts.
The plans, designed to save £3 million up front and £1m a year afterwards, have already led to protests outside the Scottish Parliament.
Opponents fear they will make it harder for victims and witnesses to attend cases, and damage local communities by closing courts in high streets.
Scottish Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have all signed the letter, which says: “Not only do these plans greatly limit access to justice, they also threaten to increase costs.
“It is understood that, even with the introduction of video conferencing, some of the remaining courts will struggle with the additional business.”
Johann Lamont, leader of Scottish Labour, said: “SNP MSPs need to come to their senses and think again about their damaging plans.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie said: “The SNP government’s case for the closures is chaotic and cavalier, and support for it is very difficult to justify.
“It seems to be centralisation gone mad.”