Liz Smith MSP has called on the SNP Government to help save Scotland’s outdoor education centres.
The Scottish Conservative politician led a Members’ Business debate on the issue at Holyrood on Tuesday, September 22, and has now written to Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, to ask what action the SNP Government will take after underlining the “blunt” message that half of the country’s 36 outdoor centres may not exist this time next year.
Commenting, Liz Smith, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, said: “Everyone is aware of the tight financial constraints under which both the Scottish Government and local authorities are currently operating. Nonetheless, it is essential that funds are found in the short-term to secure the future of our outdoor centres.
“I believe this needs the collective will of government, Parliament, philanthropic bodies and various institutions which value the skills in young people that are developed by our outdoor centres. I also strongly believe that there is little time to waste on this issue given the urgency of the situation.”
Liz Smith MSP continued: “I was delighted with the response to my Members’ debate on outdoor centres. The large number of contributions from MSPs across the political parties during the debate, plus the 20,000 people who have now signed the public petition, is testament to the strength of feeling about this issue.
“I have written to the Minister for Further Education to ask him what action the SNP Government can take to help save Scotland’s outdoor centres. The message we heard at the Members’ debate was extremely blunt; of the 36 outdoor centres in existence now, probably half will not exist this time next year.
“The unanimous view of Parliament and, I believe, the SNP Government, is that we can’t allow this to happen.”