More answers are needed on the SNP Government’s proposed £10 billion deal with a Chinese consortium, Scottish Labour said today.

On Saturday it was revealed that on 21 March the SNP Government signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese consortium that could be worth up to £10 billion. The government did not announce this deal and it only became public via Chinese media.

In the period between the signing of the deal and purdah, the SNP Government issued press releases on beavers and dog fouling but made no mention of a potential agreement worth £10 billion.

Labour today called for the publication of all documentation related to the agreement. In particular, there are four key questions that need answered:

  1. Why did the SNP Government not make the Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese consortium public until pressed by Scottish Labour last night?
  2. When did SNP donor Brian Souter first become aware of the deal and what discussions did any ministers or civil servants have with Mr Souter in advance of the deal’s conclusion?
  3. What discussions did any Scottish Government ministers or civil servants have with officials from the Chinese consortium in relation to the use of Chinese steel in any potential infrastructure projects?
  4. Can the SNP guarantee that, if they are returned to government, future contracts with Chinese firms will not bind Scotland to using Chinese steel for infrastructure projects?

Scottish Labour’s Public Services and Wealth Creation Spokesperson Jackie Baillie said:

“The SNP pat themselves on the back for things they aren’t even involved in, so for Nicola Sturgeon to keep quiet about a deal she signed potentially worth £10 billion with a Chinese consortium is quite extraordinary.

It took pressure from Labour and journalists for the SNP Government to finally publish the details of this deal, almost two weeks after Nicola Sturgeon signed it. We now need the government to publish all documentation in relation to this deal. Only when all the information is out in the open will the people of Scotland be able to make a judgement on it.

There are four questions in particular that need to be answered. Why did the SNP Government not release the Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese consortium until pressed by Scottish Labour last night? When did millionaire SNP donor Brian Souter first become aware of the deal and what discussions did any ministers or civil servants have with Mr Souter in advance of the deal’s conclusion? What discussions did any Scottish Government ministers or civil servants have with the Chinese consortium officials in relation to the use of Chinese steel in any potential infrastructure projects?

At a time of crisis for British steel the SNP must give a guarantee that, if they are returned to government, any future contract with Chinese firms will not bind Scotland to using Chinese steel for Scottish infrastructure projects.

The arrogant approach of the SNP Government in this case has been unacceptable. People in Scotland deserve a bit more respect from ministers.”