AN SNP minister has hit back after a BBC journalist suggested Ian Blackford was fibbing about the Scottish Government scrapping hospital car parking charges.

The SNP Westminster leader, responding to the Chancellor’s emergency spending announcement, called on the UK Government to scrap charges in hospital car parks, pointing out that the Scottish Government had done so 12 years previously.

However, that claim was queried by BBC journalist Nick Eardley. He highlighted that parking fees were still in place at three Scottish hospitals – Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Charges at all other hospitals were axed in 2008, but those using the car parks at the three remaining sites still have to pay because they are run by private companies.

SNP MP Maree Todd described Eardley's comment as "another exceptionally frustrating legacy from that crown jewel of Labour Party policies".

Eardley also claimed that since the charges were scrapped recently, the Scottish Government has the power to get rid of them but the decision was made after discussions with the car park operators and individual health boards.

Announcing the decision, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman Freeman said: “We cannot have barriers to staff working in the NHS.

"Last week I said I would act, if I could, to remove parking charges from those PFI car parks in our hospital settings.

"So, from Monday 30 March, car parking charges will be removed for the next three months."