Scotland needs £8bn for high-speed rail link

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SCOTLAND would have to find around £8 billion to bring the high-speed railway line from London all the way to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown revealed the UK Government had agreed it would be responsible for funding the line up to the border if the full route goes ahead.

That means the UK transport department would pick up about half the estimated £15.2bn bill for taking the line from north-west England to Scotland.

Mr Brown was giving evidence at the House of Commons transport committee, which is taking evidence on the proposed high-speed rail plan, which would eventually link London to Leeds. There are strong demands from Scottish politicians, councils and business leaders for the line to be extended north of the Border.

Mr Brown said: “When I spoke to the Secretary of State for Transport he has agreed that the UK Government would be responsible at least up to the Border. So, depending on the estimates, you are talking about £7bn-£8bn for Scotland.

“That would have to be met by changes to the fiscal arrangements in Scotland – proper borrowing powers. The biggest capital project we currently have is the Forth road bridge, which is less than £2bn.”