Scottish Labour has welcomed the news that the Infrastructure Committee will hold an inquiry into the closure of the Forth Road Bridge.

The news comes as another senior SNP Minister, Keith Brown, denied bridge maintenance budget cuts – despite clear evidence showing the opposite to be true.

Scottish Labour called for the inquiry to look at the following:

  • The impact of cuts to the bridge budget imposed by the SNP Government
  • The consequences of privatising the maintenance contract
  • Maintenance and repair works deferred or cancelled
  • Previous safety warnings issued by FETA to Transport Scotland, the SNP Government or any other relevant organisation

The Infrastructure Committee agreed to these proposals.

Earlier this week the SNP Transport Minister Derek Mackay agreed to release all documentation going back to 2009 relating to maintenance and repair work on the Forth Road Bridge.

Scottish Labour Deputy Leader and Fife MSP Alex Rowley said:

“It is right that the Infrastructure Committee will hold an inquiry into the closure of the Forth Road Bridge. Whilst the priority must be getting the bridge open again as soon as possible, people need to know how we ended up in this situation. The thousands of people struggling to get to their work and the many businesses losing money because of the bridge closure deserve some transparency.

The bridge inquiry must leave no stone unturned in getting to the truth. We need to hear from expert witnesses, including those who have previously raised concerns about budget cuts and delayed repair works. Derek Mackay was right to agree to our call for the publication of all documentation on bridge maintenance going back to 2009. He must now make good on that promise.

We know the SNP Transport Minister misled Parliament when he claimed there was no link between cancelled repair works in 2010 and the damaged area now. And we know the SNP Government’s budget cuts resulted in vital repair works being put off. We need this inquiry to get to the bottom of what went wrong here. The thousands of people and businesses affected expect nothing less.

In recent days we have seen increasingly desperate comments from the SNP Transport Minister Derek Mackay. Now Keith Brown is trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Instead of trying to tell commuters and businesses to stop asking questions about the bridge closure, the SNP Government should be open and transparent about their actions.”

David Stewart MSP, a member of the Infrastructure Committee, said:

“I am pleased the Infrastructure Committee has agreed to hold an inquiry into this situation. People right across Scotland expect, and deserve, our Parliament to get to the bottom of what has gone wrong. The SNP Government must be open and transparent about decisions they have made in the past.”