Talgo on Tour in Fife

'I was delighted last month to attend events hosted by Talgo in Kincardine and at Holyrood on their plans for the future of the old Longannet Power Station and their intentions to build a state-of-the-art train manufacturing factory at the site, which would export trains around the world – subject to the Spanish company winning major contracts.

We hear that a contract to supply trains to Denmark is on the verge of being signed but a huge contract, where Talgo is also in the running, would be to supply trains for the HS2 project. If this contract is awarded to Talgo then it could kick-start the economy in West Fife. Talgo expects to create around 1,000 jobs at the plant and a further 1,500 jobs in its local supply chain, so those working at the factory will not be the only people to benefit, but local companies will also be able to bid for opportunities as Talgo look to use them in the manufacturing process. While based in West Fife there is no doubt that people in the likes of Cowdenbeath, Crossgates and Hill of Beath would also benefit as to get that huge skilled workforce Talgo’s recruitment net would be cast across Fife and throughout the Central Belt of Scotland.

The Longannet hub can also be pivotal in Scotland’s journey to becoming a net-zero society by 2045. Talgo is at the cutting edge of low-carbon transport and there is a lot we can learn from the company as Scotland looks to provide environmentally sound solutions to our transport needs. As we will be building trains that will be exported around the world, we will be teaching the next generation of engineers, whose skills can then be used to develop our own future in transport. A real opportunity to develop a low-carbon, market-leading and innovative hub right here with “Made in Scotland” stamped on every train.

Scottish Government budget

This past week the Scottish Government’s budget started its passage through Holyrood and is another signal of how the Scotland is running a different ship of fairness, equality and progressiveness. The Scottish Government has managed to deliver this amidst the uncertainty of broken Brexit Britain as Boris Johnson pulls up the drawbridge to the rest of the world. There will be record spending in our already excellent NHS, which continues to outperform its counterparts in England and Wales. This is set to continue as the Scottish Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, announced a record £15billion investment in our NHS and in expanding childcare.

Despite what Westminster will have you believe, more than half (56%) of Scottish taxpayers pay less tax than those in England and Wales, meaning those with the broadest of shoulders contribute the most to our society – again showing how we are building a society on progressiveness and fairness. Those values go all way down to our young people as the Scottish Government will make sure they have the best start in life, with this budget allowing under-18s to travel on buses free-of-charge by January 2021. Increasing accessibility like this will allow our young people to take opportunities presented to them by school, college, apprenticeships and job interviews without any financial barriers holding them back.

The budget for 2020/21 is in stark contrast to the continually punishing and cruel austerity measures of the Tory UK Government as we in Scotland look to build a fairer and more successful society and look after everyone, not just those with the deepest of pockets'.