After a debate in Holyrood, SNP MSPs voted to close courts across the country in a move which will be a hammer-blow to many towns. The decision to close was made by the Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, despite strong local opposition and without a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of the effects of the closures on towns and communities.
Solicitors, small businesses, councils, MPs and MSPs from across the political spectrum had joined together to resist the cuts. The cuts will mean that victims and witnesses will have to travel further, at greater cost and with longer journey times. In addition, towns will see a dramatic impact on their economy as courts close and local businesses suffer.
Scottish Labour’s Lewis Macdonald MSP, said:
“This vote was the one chance that most MSPs will have to stand up for their local communities.
“But instead of listening to their constituents and supporting their local courts and communities, SNP MSPs instead voted through their government’s cuts.
“For everyone who will be taking longer journeys and paying more to see justice done, further away from their communities, this vote will be a bitter blow. For the businesses which will be impacted by the closures – the SNP have chosen to brush aside their concerns today.
“Despite what they say locally, SNP MSPs aren’t allowed to stand up for their local communities when they get to Edinburgh. It’s time they did. Their constituents will continue to suffer so long as their loyalty is to their party and not to those who voted them into Parliament.”