McConnell says that the Scots will end up paying only two-thirds of what they would have paid in tolls up to the end of the contract. But the trouble is that while the users of the bridge aren’t paying, the rest of us are, through higher taxes. And since Scotland is hugely subsidized by England, English taxpayers five hundred miles away will end up paying too.
Overall, the point is correct. Scotland is subsidised by England. The ins and outs of this are a bigger question.
But one of the glorious things about devolution is that the Scottish Executive is funded by a block grant from Gordon Brown. Once this grant has been given to the Scottish Executive, English taxpayers five hundred miles away cannot be affected by the Scottish Executive’s spending plans.
If English taxpayers are to be affected by the Scottish Executive buying the Skye Bridge, it would only be if Gordon Brown decided to give the Scottish Executive the extra money for that sole reason, which I find unlikely.
The Scottish Executive’s decision to abolish toll fees on the Skye Bridge has, rather predictably, only led to calls for tolls to be abolished on Scotland’s other bridges. Doh.
What were they called again? FATI?