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Trunk Roads

Volume 168: debated on Wednesday 28 February 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to make a statement on the Government's conclusions following the consultation on primary trunk routes south of Edinburgh.

I hope that the Scottish Office will make a statement soon.

Is the Minister aware that substantial concern has been expressed in the consultations on the review of primary routes south of Edinburgh, about the inadequate provision for additional dualling on the Al? In my constituency fears have been expressed about the lack of improvements or proposals to increase provision for the A7 south of Hawick. Given the importance of those matters, not only to my constituency and the Borders, but nationally, will the Minister undertake to meet the appropriate hon. Members who are interested in them before he comes to a final conclusion on the review?

Yes. I give an undertaking to the hon. Gentleman that I shall be only to glad to meet him on that subject. We are anxious to reach the most appropriate decision in due course. I understood that he made that request with regard to the A7. I am aware of the joint technical report on the A1, by Northumberland county council, with Lothian and Borders regional councils. We have studied the report and shall certainly take it into account. I am aware of the initiative and interest of the relevant Members of Parliament. We shall take their views fully into account.

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind my representations to him about the importance of the A7 from Edinburgh through Hawick to Carlisle? Is he aware of the value of that road to the Borders textiles industry and to tourism? Will he do all that he can to improve that road, particularly south of Hawick, including remedying bad corners and building new bridges?

The matter is under immediate consideration. We have consulted fully on it and we hope to make a statement, as I said earlier.

In view of the conclusion of the report by the university of Louvain that poor infrastructure will be responsible for Scotland and, in particular, Strathclyde regional council, coming bottom of the league—along with the Basque country and south Yorkshire—of economic development after 1992, what does the Minister intend to do to remedy that disgraceful position?

In Scotland, for roads, £ more per head is spent on each person than in England and Wales. A substantial number of improvements in the infrastructure are planned. We have proposals for motorways throughout Scotland, many of them in the west central belt, to which the hon. Gentleman referred. Those proposals will cost £50 million and will go forward.