Mountain Rescue

Part of First Minister's Question Time — Prime Minister (Meetings) – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:11 pm on 13 March 2003.

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Photo of Rt Hon Jack McConnell Rt Hon Jack McConnell Labour 3:11, 13 March 2003

I was not aware that the suggestion had come from the budget meeting in Inverness. If that is the case, it shows the benefit of having such consultations and listening meetings.

I am well aware of the seriousness of the issue and it is regrettable that some members on the nationalist benches think that it is funny. Safety on our Scottish mountains and hills is critical to the tens of thousands who use them every weekend and to our tourism industry. I intend to take up two issues that were raised with me on Sunday. The first is on-going revenue funding, which is about £60,000 a year for Scottish Mountain Rescue. That looks as though it is insufficient. Secondly, mountain safety provisions are required. At the moment, such provisions receive low-level funding from sportscotland without input from any other public agency. We could be doing better on both issues and I look forward to resolving matters in the months ahead.