I like the phrase or two.
As a partnership, we are committed to introducing a programme of initiatives that is in the interests of Scotland. That will be done in a number of ways: in the legislative programme that we announced yesterday, in the spending priorities that we will advance and reflect, and in administrative action. We are committed to changing and improving the standard of life in Scotland across a whole range of issues, including
I would not describe it as a toll tax. It is very important that we try to reduce the gridlock and congestion on motorways and in urban centres. In debate earlier today, there were some impassioned speeches from Alex Salmond's benches on the need to do something about urban congestion. Although people make those statements, when imaginative and difficult ideas are brought forward-difficult because we know that they will be controversial but believe that they must be examined-there is a barrage of criticism and complaint. There is a good deal of courage in the legislative programme that we announced, and the measures are an example of that.
It is perfectly legitimate for the Scottish National party-or any outside party-to draw attention to diversion. It is one of the factors that must be examined carefully. There are other possibilities for congestion charging which may have a part to play. It is important that, if there is to be a move in the direction of charging, it must be clear that any money raised will be used to improve transport services and infrastructure. When people sit down and think about that, it might be more popular than Mr Salmond would like.
I know that Donald Gorrie takes a great interest in those things, and I suspect that he rather fancies himself as a representative of youth. It shows a confidence in that matter that I find implausible. I have never taken the view that young people had totally different interests from those of the rest of the population. Young people are interested in educational opportunity and-essentially-in job opportunity. Mr Gorrie might want to consider the impressive statistic that, since the Government came to power at Westminster, the new deal has halved the number of 18 to 24-year-olds claiming unemployment benefit.
It is the same with housing, the health service and a range of social services. If we get those matters right, and bring about the kind of improvements that we want, we will appeal to people of 18 as much as we will appeal to people of Mr Gorrie's age.
Mr Sheridan is indulging in wishful thinking, because there is no such amnesty in England and Wales. I take the view that when people owe money, and when money is due, that debt should be met. I have no intention of introducing an amnesty. There are difficulties about collecting, and other principles of law apply, but local government is right to recover due debt. If it does not do so, there will be an additional burden on others in society-I do not include Mr Sheridan-who have been meeting their dues.