Budget 2012: Business leaders call on SNP to lease out Scotland’s road network

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BUSINESS leaders have called on the Scottish Government to follow David Cameron’s lead and lease out the road network north of the Border.

The Prime Minister announced the proposal to lease out the major road network in England to attract investment from sovereign funds and other private investors. He questioned why infrastructure such as water supply was privatised but not Britain’s roads.

However, with the idea raising concerns of mass tolling in England, the SNP Scottish Government last night made it clear that Mr Cameron’s proposal would not be taken up in Scotland where water supply also remains in public-sector control.

But CBI Scotland said: “A wide range of opportunities exist for the public sector in Scotland to benefit from private-sector expertise and capital, as well as economies of scale.

“While some examples of collaborative working between councils does exist, only one of Scotland’s 32 local authorities currently use a private provider to deliver their local roads management and maintenance.”

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat Scottish Secretary Michael Moore came under renewed pressure to end national agreements on public-sector pay and bring it in line with private-sector pay on a regional basis.

Labour shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran said: “What Scotland needs from this Budget is policy and direction that boosts jobs and growth, not just more attacks on people’s pay.”