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Scottish Government accused of blocking Boris Johnson’s transport upgrade plan

Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson’s plan to upgrade the nation’s transport infrastructure has hit a roadblock in Scotland, it has been claimed.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has accused the Scottish Government of refusing to engage with the prime minister’s recently announced “union connectivity review”.

The review, led by Network Rail boss Sir Peter Hendy, promises to deliver faster road and rail links and create new transport links across the UK.

Mr Johnson said the scheme would help Britain “build back better from the pandemic” and would result in a “levelling up” of opportunity across the nation.

Alister Jack.

Downing Street initially said work was ongoing with the devolved administrations to establish transport priorities, but Mr Jack said on Wednesday those talks had broken down with Holyrood.

He said: “The union connectivity review is a really important initiative for Scotland and the whole United Kingdom, it’ll create very exciting opportunities.

“However, I am concerned that Transport Scotland have been told by the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson, not to engage with the review.

Michael Matheson.

“I would urge Mr Matheson to think again and to ensure his officials take part.

“It can’t be in Scotland’s interest for the SNP just to play politics with an issue that is just so important to our economic future.”

Sir Peter is expected to publish his final recommendations in the summer of 2021, to include advice on how best to improve connections, and whether that includes the need to invest in additional infrastructure by the UK Government.

Transport Scotland has been contacted for comment.

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