14 May 2009
High Speed Rail could not be delivered in an independent Scotland
Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West John Barrett has today called for the Government to ensure that Scotland will be included in any national High Speed Rail Network after warnings that an Independent Scotland would not be able to guarantee a Scotland-to-London link.
Speaking during Transport questions, Mr Barrett called on the Government to commit to including Scotland in any planned High Speed Rail network.
Transport Minister Geoff Hoon warned that there would be no case for Westminster to fund a High Speed Line to the border in the event of an Independent Scotland.
Following questions Mr Barrett said:
“A UK-wide High Speed Rail Network would require a United Kingdom.
“I have been calling for a High Speed Rail Link for many years but even if we win the argument there is a serious concern that the Government will construct a line that will go no further than Leeds or Manchester.
“In the event of an Independent Scotland it would be impossible to make a good enough business or economic case to extend any High Speed Rail network to the border.”
“The benefits of a High Speed Rail Link would be huge. We have seen from other European countries the benefits of a High Speed Rail Network that reaches every region in the creation of better social, political, and economic integration.
“At a time when we are trying to lower our carbon emissions, a High Speed Rail network that does not include Glasgow or Edinburgh would be a grave mistake given that flights from both Edinburgh and Glasgow to London are two of the most popular domestic routes in the country.”