Efficiency Savings (Justice and Communities)

Justice and Law Officers – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 14 June 2007.

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Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour 2:15, 14 June 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive what consideration it has given to efficiency savings in the justice and communities budget. (S3O-228)

Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Scottish National Party

The Government is committed to delivering efficiencies across the public sector in Scotland. I will consider justice expenditure closely, as part of the spending review, to ensure that public money is spent as efficiently and effectively as possible and to generate efficiencies that can be fed back into providing more and better services. The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth announced on 24 May that we will establish our efficiency programme for 2008 to 2011 during the spending review.

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

The minister's colleague, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, has made much of the Howat report in discussing the more efficient use of public money. He has refused to rule out the recommendations in that report, with the exception of the one regarding Scottish Water.

One recommendation is that the fire college at Gullane in my constituency should be merged with the police college in Tulliallan, with the Gullane site being sold off. The college at Gullane has trained firefighters for 50 years. I think that the fire service will have concerns about the potential loss of its specialist training facility, and I am sure that my constituents in Gullane will be worried by the prospect of the disposal of a large site in the heart of their community. Will the minister allay those worries by assuring us that he will not pursue that recommendation?

Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Scottish National Party

Most members will be aware of the excellent service and facilities in Gullane. Obviously, the Government is reviewing fire service and police issues, therefore it would be wrong of me to make a specific commitment. However, we recognise the excellent service that the fire and rescue services have provided and continue to provide in Scotland. We seek to build on and enhance that solid foundation.