04 February 2009

Michael Russell has set the record straight after misleading the chamber by stating that 1,000 Forestry Commission jobs in Scotland had been lost since 1999.

In a letter to Sarah Boyack, the Minister offered to raise a point of order to explain the matter and to make a personal apology.

Ms Boyack, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, said:

"The figures used were wrong and I welcome Mike Russell's apology. He has recognised that an error was made in the chamber and he has acted swiftly to ensure that the record is set straight.

"It's vital that ministers get their facts right and if they don't they apologise.

"Mike Russell is the first SNP minister to do the right thing and his actions should be applauded. Other SNP ministers should take note.

"The error was made during a serious debate about the future of forestry in Scotland.

"The Minister's ill thought out plans scraped through, but we will continue to challenge the SNP's proposals to privatise Scotland's forests.

"The government is now under pressure on this issue.

"They will be responsible for the uncertainty that this will create in the Forestry Commission and timber companies around Scotland. It's not too late for the Minister to drop these damaging plans now."


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