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New Forth Crossing: Call to stand firm over bridge cash

Ministers in Whitehall are being urged not to increase the “shedloads” of British taxpayers’ cash received by Scotland following a request for extra funds to pay for the new Forth Bridge.

There are currently doubts about how the Scottish Government will foot the estimated £2.3bn needed for the new crossing.

At question time, Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie (Dunfermline and Fife W) called on ministers to allow the Scottish Government “new borrowing powers” in order to raise more cash.

Treasury financial secretary Stephen Timms said the British Government had offered “flexibility” but funding for the crossing was a devolved matter.

However, Labour’s Wolverhampton MP Rob Marris angrily interjected, emphasising that Holyrood should raise the cash through taxation, adding: “Could you assure me the Government will hold firm. Scotland already gets shedloads of money under the Barnett Formula. They are entitled to raise their own taxes and this Government should stand firm against this bridge where they want even more money.”

Mr Timms told him he had made a “forceful point”, adding: “It is an important project but it does need to be carried out within the economic framework applying to the UK as a whole.”

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