THE Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee this week published a substantive report into Scotland’s city deals, highlighting, according to Kinglassie MSP, Jenny Gilruth, Fife Council’s ‘failure to ask communities what they actually wanted’.

The report, she says, addresses a lack of transparency over the deal, describing the process as “opaque.”

It further identifies the failure of Fife Council’s Co-Leader, Labour’s David Ross, to argue for the Levenmouth Rail project during critical preliminary stages of the city deal process.

Cllr Ross was the Leader of Fife Council during that time and the authority was run by the Labour Party until last year.

Jenny Gilruth, first criticised Fife Council’s welcoming of the Edinburgh City Deal back in July, describing it then as a ‘missed opportunity’ for Fife. Commenting in response to the publication, the MSP said: “This Cross Party Scottish Parliament Report highlights the failure of Labour to argue for the inclusion of the Levenmouth Rail link in the Edinburgh city regional deal from the outset.

“The report, which studies city deals across Scotland, clearly demonstrates the benefit of transport links driving economic growth. A fact that makes common sense in Levenmouth - Scotland’s largest area with no direct rail link”. In the report, campaign group Transform Scotland, were also critical of the issue of project selection. Commenting that choices were: “shrouded in a degree of secrecy on the basis of being sensitive, or confidential, at least until they are agreed” and that, “even after agreement, some of the transport projects are vague and non-specific” (section 90).

The FSB further highlighted the lack of business representation in the Deal selection process. Ms Gilruth was keen to highlight the lack of public engagement in the City Deal process across Fife. The MSP said: “Perhaps the most startling aspect of this report is the idea that not nearly enough was done to consult with local communities. Had this happened in Fife, the then Labour-led Council would have understood the huge appetite and compelling demand for the Rail link.

“I believe that it’s not too late to argue for funding from the city deal process. But we now do so with one hand behind our back. I’m pleased the report acknowledges the vital link between transport links and economic growth and I look forward to continuing to work alongside the Levenmouth Rail Campaign to drive the Rail Link forward.”

Th council has made the point that a great deal can be achieved through the City Deal process for Fife and has promoted this through a number of channels.