First ScotRail Passenger Rail Franchise (Extension)

First Minister's Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:00 pm on 4th December 2008.

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Photo of Alison McInnes Alison McInnes Liberal Democrat 12:00 pm, 4th December 2008

To ask the First Minister what assessment the Scottish Government has made of the Auditor General for Scotland's report into the extension to the First ScotRail passenger rail franchise. (S3F-1266)

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

As previously discussed, we welcome Audit Scotland's comment that the rigorous evaluation that went into the extension option appraisal has guaranteed more than £73 million of new money to benefit passengers, taxpayers and rail employees throughout Scotland. As I also said earlier, the report also highlights issues of governance for Transport Scotland, which will be considered for future improvement.

Photo of Alison McInnes Alison McInnes Liberal Democrat

I listened with interest to the earlier exchanges on this issue. As publication of the strategic transport projects review is imminent, how can the First Minister expect the people of Scotland to have any sort of confidence that the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change can be trusted to make the right decisions about vital transport links when he is quite happy to commit an extra £800 million of taxpayers' money to FirstScotrail without ever seeing a documented business case—a decision that, according to Audit Scotland, should not have been made in the way that it was?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

I return to the real benefits that Audit Scotland has identified with regard to the decisions that were made. As for the issues of governance that are highlighted in the report, they will be looked at and Transport Scotland will make the relevant improvements.