Attack on populism

Easdales tell politicians: ‘get a grip on business reality’

James and Sandy Easdale
James and Sandy Easdale: politicians are dreaming up acts of self-harm

Bus tycoons Sandy and James Easdale have told the SNP, Green and Labour politicians to stop trading in populist measures and take appropriate measures to stimulate economic growth.

The former Rangers FC directors who own McGill’s, the UK’s biggest independent bus company, and have a wide range of property and other assets, have criticised plans for more “uncosted giveaways and punitive measures on job creators”.

The pair have spent more than £200 million building their bus company but have expressed frustration at the “lack of business acumen” that is driving decisions at Holyrood. Among the new populist measures is Labour’s ambition to provide free travel for everyone.

Sandy Easdale said: “Believe it or not the Scottish Labour website, under the heading ‘Put our bus services back in public hands’ states that they ‘will extend free bus travel to under 25s, with a long-term goal of universal free bus travel’.

“Like many business figures in Scotland, my brother and I are seriously considering supporting Labour to get rid of the failed SNP and Green coalition. However, when the party comes out with nonsense like free travel for everybody, you begin to wonder if the next promise will be free beer for the workers and a £30,000 wage even if you don’t work.”

He said the government “can’t run the NHS, schools, ferries or repair the roads, so who has the expertise to run a major transport company?

“I am fed up hearing the SNP and Labour banging on about nationalisation and privatisation. Bearing in mind the black hole in Scotland’s budget, do they honestly think a nationalised company could even think about the major financial investment we are putting in place?”

His brother James added: “There is a severe lack of business acumen evident in the two parties. Between the SNP’s mismanagement of the ferries and Ferguson Marine and Labour’s insane idea of a windfall tax for the oil and gas industry which could put 40,000 jobs at stake, you have to wonder what act of self-harm will be dreamed up next by our politicians.

“What on earth induced Keir Starmer to come to the Scottish Labour conference with the plan for a windfall tax and cause major consternation in the north east? No doubt they’ll tell us these unemployed oil workers can just build wind turbines, but we all know that’s like comparing oranges to apples.

“In our case, we are investing heavily to grow our business, providing jobs and putting money into the coffers of the public purse. A lot of capital expenditure has gone into our tie-up with FlixBus, an international travel operator. If left up to our political leaders, that simply could not happen – and it is doubtful that FlixBus would want to take the risk of operating here.

“It is high time that politicians set out a path for economic growth for Scotland rather than simply announcing more uncosted giveaways and punitive measures on job creators.”

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