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Connectivity: Scotland and the rest of the UK

Volume 650: debated on Wednesday 28 November 2018

7. What steps the Government are taking to support connectivity between Scotland and the rest of the UK. (907839)

The UK Government are committed to constructive intergovernmental working and a joined-up approach to all matters that relate to cross-border transport connectivity. At a working level, much co-operation goes on between officials in the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland on these issues every day.

What discussions has my hon. Friend had with the Department for Transport specifically to ensure that HS2 is able to link up in a further extension with Scotland, to ensure that we get the connectivity between Scotland and the rest of the UK?

I know that this issue is very close to my hon. Friend’s heart, and the Department for Transport is working extremely closely with Transport Scotland and Network Rail to look at future options around HS2 that might have a good business case, working towards the UK and Scottish Governments’ shared ultimate ambition of a three-hour journey time between London and Scotland.

It is all very well talking about connectivity between Scotland and the rest of the UK, but in remote parts of my constituency, connectivity is rubbish: you would be better off with two tin cans and a length of string. Should we not sort out Scotland first?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. With his two cans reference, I think he was referring to the digital connectivity issues. I would politely remind him that £1.7 billion of public money is being invested to support vital improvements in broadband coverage, and this Government have invested £121.8 million in Scotland’s superfast broadband infrastructure. Per head, that is over twice the funding that England has received.