Tory attack on digi-promise

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

An allegation has been made by Galloway and West Dumfries Tory MSP Finlay Carson that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon broke a promise on digital funding for this region.

His accusation has been rejected by the SNP.

He highighted what he claimed was “a promise” made by the First Minister during a speech to SNP conference in March 2017, where she announced plans for a Digital Growth Fund.

“The £36m fund was launched to meet the costs of digital skills training, but funds were only finally released in June 2018, more than 15 months after Sturgeon’s announcement. The eventual funding was only given as loans to companies, rather than direct funding.”

However, his SNP counterpart, Emma Harper MSP responded: “The Digital Growth Fund was set up to enable up to 6,000 people per year to access the training they need in key areas like software development, web design and digital marketing, and it was made clear that that funding would need to be repaid by businesses in later years.

“This three-year £36m fund was set up to help businesses invest in their staff and to build the country’s future.

“Additionally, there is a new £1 million fund to help those on low incomes could benefit from digital skills training offering between £5,000 and £50,000 to small and medium-sized businesses - at 0% interest to be repaid over up to 5 years.” - to improve digital capabilities and processes in areas such as cyber security, data analytics and software engineering.”