CLYDEBANK’S MSP Gil Paterson has challenged his political opponents across West Dunbartonshire to get behind plans that he says will enhance investment in Scotland’s emergency services.

Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP outlined his draft budget proposals for 2019/20 when speaking in the Scottish Parliament in December.

The proposals deliver more than £1.2 billion for policing and increase spending on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service budget by £5.5 million to invest in service transformation.

Officers and staff of Police Scotland will also see an investment of £11.2m in 2019/20, providing direct benefits.

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Mr Paterson, who represents the Scottish Nationalist Party for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “The Finance Secretary’s plans offer real-terms protection of the police resource budget while providing over £5 million of additional resources to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to support their transformation.

“Both our police and fire services have been reformed in recent years, delivering greater efficiency and results.

“Their work in Clydebank and across the wider community is invaluable.

“Our police officers and firefighters are some of the most heroic and dedicated public servants – I am urging MSPs from across West Dunbartonshire to get behind plans that deliver for them.”

The Scottish Government has previously committed itself to protecting the police resource budget in real terms in every year of this Parliament – amounting to a boost of £100m by 2021.

The SNP government at Holyrood is clear they will continue to press the Tory government at Westminster for the return of the £175m paid in VAT by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland.

They say the cash will be re-invested in services.

MSPs will vote on the Finance Secretary’s draft budget proposals this month.