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Government axe airport rail link

18.09.09

Plans for a £120m rail link between Glasgow Airport and the city centre have been axed by the Scottish Government as a result of a ‘significant squeeze’ on public expenditure. Presenting a draft £35bn budget for the year ahead, Finance Secretaty John Swinney told the Scottish parliament he had ‘reluctantly’ decided to cancel the rail link.

Mr Swinney told MSPs: ‘In light of the difficult financial climate we face, as a responsible Government we have had to make difficult choices about where to reduce spending next year.’ Transport Scotland confirmed the decision means the plans will not go ahead. Land bought through compulsory purchase orders to allow construction of the link will be sold back to owners at market value, leaving little prospect of the project being resurrected.

The decision was greeted by a barrage of criticism. Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘Scotland’s businesses desperately need improvements to our transport infrastructure if they are to emerge from recession and compete on a world stage. We cannot afford cuts to vital transport projects.’

David Lonsdale, assistant director of the employers’ group CBI Scotland, said: ‘We warned previously that funding for infrastructure projects is often seen by politicians as a soft target, and so it has proved.’ A spokesman for Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell said: ‘This is another knife in the back for Glasgow.’

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