First Minister issues grit pledge

First Minister Alex Salmond has said that salt and grit orders are in place and supplies are expected to be delivered in January to help Scotland tackle the winter weather.

Speaking to MSPs at First Minister's Questions he reassured that the country will have enough salt and grit, with fresh supplies due next month, while a previously built-up resilience stock is also available.

Mr Salmond said that currently the country held 140,000 tonnes of salt and grit stocks, while a further 150,000 are on order from places such as Peru and India.

He said: "What we have managed to do in Scotland is to use the resilience supplies in order to make sure the salt and grit is there to keep Scotland moving, and that was the purpose of building up the resilience stock."

Conservative leader Annabel Goldie questioned whether salt stocks were being rationed, despite Mr Salmond's assurances three weeks ago that Scotland had two months' supply of salt, even taking into account heavy usage.

She said: "In the last 24 hours I have been receiving reports about a number of councils confirming their remaining salt stocks can be counted in days, rather than the weeks we thought we had.

"One council is rationing and even when salt is on order there is still uncertainty about delivery dates."

The First Minister said the Government had learned lessons from last winter, building the resilience supply and purchasing stock from abroad with UK supplies under pressure.

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