The UK Government is giving £8 million to the Scottish Government to find ways to improve the A75 and will also fund efforts to shorten journey times on Scotland-England trains.

Improving transport links across the United Kingdom is central to the UK Government’s vision of spreading opportunity and prosperity to all corners of our country. Figures published last month underlined just how crucial the rest of the UK is to Scottish businesses.

Total sales from Scotland to England, Wales and Northern Ireland amounted to £48.6 billion, the equivalent of 61 per cent of Scotland’s total exports. Given the majority of our goods and services are sold to the rest of the UK, the arguments for making it easier to reach those vital markets are clear.

At the heart of the UK Government’s response to Lord Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review are our plans to work with the Scottish Government to upgrade the A75. This narrow road has been wholly inadequate, given it’s supposed to be the main artery linking Northern Ireland to the north of England through south-west Scotland.

We are committing £8 million to the Scottish Government to develop options to improve the A75. Then we will provide further cash to deliver those targeted improvements by alleviating ‘pinch points’ on the road. The feasibility study will look at proposals to bypass Springholm and Crocketford, speeding up journey times considerably.

As transport is devolved, it is for the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland to develop the options and deliver the subsequent improvements. However, it is right and proper that the UK Government takes a strategic approach to transport across the UK. Hence our decision to enable A75 work by providing the cash for the feasibility study plus the promise of more money to come to fund the improvements it identifies.

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