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'£600M shortfall' for Scottish rail, minister claims

Glasgow Central

Scotland’s transport minister has slammed the UK government’s transport funding allocation and said the “shortfall” will do “serious damage to Scotland’s railways and future enhancement projects”.

The UK government described the £3.6bn funding over five years from 2019/20 as a “boost”, however the Scottish government said it will be a “real terms cut” that could see a £600M funding gap for rail projects.

Treasury chief secretary Liz Truss said the funding is a “prime example of how Scotland benefits from the UK’s broad shoulders” and that Scotland has recieved an additional £2bn funding since the 2015 spending review.

At least £4.2bn is needed to complete the outlined projects, said Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf.

Yousaf said: “This £600m shortfall will do serious damage to Scotland’s railways and our future enhancement projects.

“The Scottish government has taken a constructive approach simply requesting the same funding we have received previously accounting for inflation.

“We want to continue to invest in improving our rail network and services to meet future demands, but the changes to be introduced by the UK Government are putting at risk our ability to do so in full and this will have a massive impact.

“Changes due to be introduced by the UK government in 2019 will lead to a real terms cut in Scottish government funding for railway investment and will lead to a £600 million shortfall.”

Responding to the claims a spokesman for the UK government said: “The UK government is delivering on our promises to Scotland – any claims otherwise don’t stand up or reflect how Scotland continues to benefit from being part of the UK.

”The £3.6bn rail settlement for Scotland is a higher proportion than its population share and a £600m increase on the previous period.

”This new funding settlement is also on top of the significant Barnett funding the Scottish government now receives to spend on its priorities, including transport. It’s now for the Scottish Government to decide how it will use this funding, alongside its major tax and spending powers.”

Yousaf said he would not pubish the Statement of Funds Available for Control Period 6 based on the funding decision and added  ”I will continue to press the UK Government for a fair deal for Scotland on funding for railway improvements.”

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