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Transport Connections: Scotland and Rest of UK

Volume 700: debated on Wednesday 8 September 2021

5. What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on improving transport connections between Scotland and the rest of the UK. (903224)

I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues who are as excited as I am to ensure that we strengthen transport connections across the United Kingdom. We recognise the importance of transport and how it is vital to economic growth, job creation and social cohesion. That is why the Union connectivity review was commissioned. I look forward to the publication of the final report later this year.

The family, business and cultural links between Harrogate and Knaresborough and Scotland are growing, but, for them to grow further, they will need better connectivity. The east coast main line is at the heart of that. Will my right hon. Friend therefore welcome the investments being made in that line and highlight its importance in the Union connectivity review that he just mentioned?

Yes. The Government are determined to level up every corner of the United Kingdom, bringing communities across the country closer together. We recognise that infrastructure projects are important to growing our economy, because wherever we create connectivity, we create economic growth.

Which high-speed rail line does the hon. Member have in mind—High Speed 2 going north or Galashiels coming south? He should wait for the outcome of the connectivity review—which I must say the SNP did not engage in. Not only that; the SNP Government’s Transport Minister, rather irresponsibly, told his civil servant officials that they could not engage with Sir Peter Hendy or give him any data. When we then offered £20 million for feasibility studies, they declined it.