By Lynda Williamson

Scottish Labour Party shadow Finance spokesperson Iain Gray's is quoted in the Scotsman newspaper attacking the way in which the Scottish government reports the cost of major infrastructure projects. The Scotsman report states that Mr Gray accused the government of not reporting the full costs of several such projects. The former leader of Labour's MSPs in Holyrood brandished it “astonishing” that there is no standard framework for reporting.

The attacks have however backfired after Scotland's top civil servant, Sir Peter Housden, Permanent Secretary to the Scottish government appeared before Holyrood's Public Audit Committee. In his evidence Sir Peter confirmed that regular updates on the costs of capital projects to the committee did not begin until 2009.

During the time that Iain Gray was Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Minister – a post where he was in charge of major infrastructure projects – there was no regular reporting framework in place at all.

The SNP government began giving regular updates to the Public Audit Committee on major infrastructure projects in 2009. Earlier this year they extended the updates to cover smaller projects and began to make them available to the public by posting them online.

Mr Gray's record of inactivity contrasts with the proactive approach by the SNP government leaving him open to accusations of hypocrisy. Meanwhile Sir Peter has also assured MSPs that the government is “open to suggestions” as to how its reporting process can be further improved.

Commenting, SNP MSP Bob Doris who is a member of the Public Audit Committee said:

“Iain Gray’s time in office may have been a forgettable one for everyone else, but you would expect that he at least would know his own track record.

“It is pretty embarrassing for him to have launched a boomerang attack like this when his own performance on this issue doesn’t hold a candle to the active steps the Scottish Government has taken to increase accountability for public projects.

“It just smacks of hypocrisy to attack the Scottish Government’s record when it far outstrips Iain Gray’s own when he was the responsible Minister.

“The simple fact is that unlike when Iain Gray was in office, the SNP Government has made significant improvements to

the way in which the costs of major projects are reported and I was reassured that they are always open to making further improvements.

“Perhaps instead of being so quick to make these kinds of attacks, Iain Gray would have been better served reflecting on his own failure to act in this area when he was Enterprise, Transport & Lifelong Learning Minister.”   


# Marian 2013-09-04 21:59
"Hapless" is the best way to describe Iain Gray's political career.
# call me dave 2013-09-04 22:22
Who said:
In politics, never ask a question unless you know the answer?

I don't know either but it's not Mr Gray.
This simple example sharply contrasts the difference between Labour and SNP at work.

Who do you trust for looking out for Scotland's future?

Now I do know the answer to that question!
# Macart 2013-09-05 07:01
I'm willing to bet Mr Gray is still wondering where it all went wrong in 2011? He appears to be a politician suffering all the symptoms of denial and shock to this day. I also suspect the blame for his failure to provide effective opposition will always lie elsewhere rather than at his own doorstep. How on earth can you propose to attack a government's track record on anything when your own in the self same area was beyond poor? Just staggering lack of self awareness coupled with no little amount of hypocrisy.
# Independista 2013-09-05 08:55
I suspect that some new shiny researcher thought this one up, not realising that it was a can of worms. The hapless Gray should have known better. Absolute plonker!
# Macart 2013-09-05 09:31
You'd have thought after his last visit to the front of the class that check, check and check again would have become branded into his daily routine. But to apparently forget your own political record in an office takes some doing. :D
# From The Suburbs 2013-09-05 07:48
In March 2003 the then Transport Minister Iain Gray awarded £375m from the Scottish Executive’s integrated transport fund to Edinburgh city council to build tram lines to serve the north and west, “the first to be running by 2009”. Mr Gray also says the money would pay for “at least” the North Edinburgh Loop. The Labour council believes this will also pay for a line from Haymarket to the airport.

In March 2006 the Tram Bill is passed by MSPs voting 88 to 20 in favour. New Transport Minister Tavish Scott raises funding to £490m, The SNP opposed the Bill on grounds that business case did not stack up but were heavily defeated by Labour, Tory and Lib Dem MSPs.

Despite a pre-election commitment to scrap the project, the new SNP government is outvoted and steamrollered by 81 votes to 47 as Tories join Labour and the Lib-Dems to insist the stunted tram project goes ahead. But Scottish Government funding is pegged to a maximum of £500 million.
# RTP 2013-09-05 08:19
No disrespect to Cameron Buchanan

Did anyone else notice Ruthie's face when her new list MSP was being sworn in.I don't know what was bothering her but it looked as if she was having a very bad day or something.
# Roll_On_2011 2013-09-05 10:47
RTP Although it was not widely reported across the MSM, this could be why:

New Tory MSP says Alex Salmond ‘class act’

“ Mr Buchanan, 66, said he had met the First Minister on several occasions. “Very impressive, very single-minded - a lot of respect for him. What I would say is he’s a class act.

The new MSP also said it was too early to say whether Mr Salmond could produce a victory in next year’s independence referendum.

He said: “He’s the type of politician who could spring a surprise at the last minute and we would be wrong-footed.” “
# pomatiaH1 2013-09-05 09:37
I wondered some time ago if it is a matter of these politicians being simply hapless or incompetent, or have they discovered they can tell any lie or misrepresent the truth, and they know that none of the print press or the BBC will pick them up on it?
# X_Sticks 2013-09-05 10:29

"or have they discovered they can tell any lie or misrepresent the truth, and they know that none of the print press or the BBC will pick them up on it?"

That is a HUGE question pomatiaH1!
# dpict 2013-09-05 11:17
Quoting pomatiaH1:
I wondered some time ago if it is a matter of these politicians being simply hapless or incompetent, or have they discovered they can tell any lie or misrepresent the truth, and they know that none of the print press or the BBC will pick them up on it?

I have been thinking the same thing, my conclusion is that they are both incompetent and they know they can say anything about Scotland because the MSM will not challenge them or hold them to account in any way.

This is how Labour have been able to cling on to power here for so many decades while doing nothing to stop the decay. Easy life, take the money and blame the Tory's for it all.
# proudscot 2013-09-05 10:57
When I hear the likes of Iain Gray, Lamont, Baillie, Davidson and Rennie in full verbal flow, they provide ammo for the NO Campaign's jibe that we're "too stupid" to run our country competently.
# call me dave 2013-09-05 11:40
I see that the FM may have lost some weight but still packs enough of a punch to see off the dross at FMQ's

I must get the popcorn in and watch the rerun on NNS later when it is available.

Anyone watching it live must see which way to direct their vote in 2014.

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