Scottish Greens Transport Spokesperson John Finnie MSP has expressed concern at a move by the UK Government to change the method of rail funding in Scotland over the next five years, thus reducing the funds available to improve the rail network.
The Scottish Government was due to publish its Statement of Funds Available for railways on Friday 13th October, yet the UK Government’s Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t inform the government of its final offer until the day before.
The change will mean that a long term agreement between the Scottish and UK Government’s in place since 2005 will become defunct and Scotland will no longer receive funding proportionate to the size of the Scottish rail network.
John Finnie said:
“I am extremely concerned that the UK Government has taken the decision to reduce the funding allocated to maintain and improve Scotland’s rail network. The current funding arrangements have been in place for more than ten years and ensure that Scotland receives a share of railway funding proportionate to its share of the rail network.
“At a time when we know we must reduce harmful emissions to mitigate the impact of climate change it is vital that we increase investment in rail and other forms of sustainable travel. Cutting investment in rail by £600 million is absurd and will only make it that much harder to tackle climate change.
“This cut in funding will have real impacts on communities across Scotland. Only last month the Transport Minister announced he would fund a feasibility study into the Levenmouth rail link in Fife. While there is improvement required on the Highland Main Line, the Far North Line and on the Inverness to Aberdeen route. All of these projects and others across the country may now be hampered by this funding cut.
“I hope colleagues from all parties can put differences aside and match their requests for improved rail infrastructure by joining my call on the UK government to revisit this decision and ensure that Scotland continues to receive its fair share of rail funding.”