Attn: Local news desks / political reporters

For immediate release: Thursday 16 February 2017

SALMOND CALLS OUT TORIES ON “ASTONISHING HYPOCRISY”

CONVERVATIVES HAVE VOTED AGAINST NORTH-EAST RATES RELIEF FOR BUSINESSES TWICE IN ONE WEEK

Alex Salmond, MP for Gordon, has today called out the Tory party for their “astonishing hypocrisy” after councillors in Moray and Aberdeenshire rejected business rates reliefs twice in one week, while at the same time criticising the Scottish Government for the changes in business rates. 
 
Last week, SNP councillors in Aberdeenshire passed a budget, despite Tory-led opposition. The budget included an allocation for a new £3 million local business rates relief scheme, to help those that have seen larger rates revaluations and are feeling the effects of the downturn in the North-east economy.
 
However, yesterday, Tory-led Moray administration threw out an SNP amendment encouraging the Moray Council to follow Aberdeenshire’s lead in offering local business rates relief.
 
SNP councillors in Moray had tabled an amendment to the Tory-led budget in Moray suggesting a similar scheme, but this was rejected by Tory councillors, including part-time-MSP-come-referee-come-councillor Douglas Ross.

This comes at the same time reports showed that firms are set to be “hammered” by business rates changes in England. 
 
On the same week as Ruth Davidson has reportedly stated that businesses are “staring down the barrel of a gun” due to changes to business rates, the actions of Tory councillors clearly demonstrated they are more interested in opportunistic soundbites rather than providing firms with meaningful support when they have the powers to do so.
 
Commenting, Mr Salmond said:

“Even by Tory standards, this is an astonishing level of hypocrisy. The entire party have criticised the Scottish Government for the new business rates nearly every day, however, when they are presented with the opportunity to offer business rates relief they unanimously reject it not once, but twice. 
 
“It is clear that political point scoring is more important for Ruth Davidson and her band of Tories than actually providing any kind of support to businesses in the North-east - they should be ashamed of themselves.”

ENDS