Does blocked Union Connectivity Review mean the end of the line for Borders Railway extension?

The Union Connectivity Review, which could look into extending the Borders Railway, has been blocked by the Transport Secretary.

Friday, 9th October 2020, 7:06 am
Photographer Ian Georgeson,  Borders Railway, near Newtongrange.
Photographer Ian Georgeson, Borders Railway, near Newtongrange.

The review will look into improving cross border transport between the four nations of the UK.

However, it has been revealed that Michael Matheson MSP has blocked Transport Scotland from engaging with the review.

During Scotland Questions in the House of Commons, Douglas Ross MP asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what engagement had taken place with the Scottish Government. Alister Jack MP revealed that Transport Scotland have been asked by the Scottish Government not to engage.

However, a spokesperson for Mr Matheson(SNP) blamed the delay on concerns that the review could undermine devolution.

He said: “We are still waiting for a response to the concerns set out in our join letter with the devolved administrations sent last month.

“But this study is clearly part of the Tory government’s wider agenda to undermine the devolution settlement across a whole range of policy areas.

“The very fact that it has been organised with virtually no consultation with the devolved administrations – despite transport having been a devolved matter since 1999 – speaks for itself.

“While we will seek to engage constructively with the UK Government, we will absolutely not sign up to anything which in any way undermines the devolution settlement.

“The ball is in the UK Government’s court to prove that this is not the case – but thus far we frankly have little confidence in this process.”