City leaders build platform for rail link

CITY leaders are set to meet with the UK Transport Secretary to help press for the extension of a multi-billion-pound high-speed rail link into Scotland.

Jenny Dawe, leader of the city council, and Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, the Capital's transport convener, will meet Philip Hammond at Westminster in January.

They will be joined by colleagues from Glasgow City Council as they press the case for the high-speed line to be built all the way to Scotland.

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The coalition government has committed to a 33 billion stretch of line between London and Birmingham, but there are still no firm plans to continue the network northwards.

Cllr Dawe said: "I welcome Philip Hammond's commitment to reducing journey times between London and Scotland and to inducing a major shift of passengers from domestic aviation. I look forward to discussing this with him at our meeting in January.

"Scotland's two main cities have already demonstrated a willingness to work together in the national interest and (Glasgow City Council leader] Gordon Matheson and I have both written to (Scottish] Transport Minister Keith Brown, outlining the importance that we attach to bringing high-speed rail to Scotland."

Business leaders have already warned that the decision to leave Edinburgh out of the high-speed rail plans - with lines instead going to Leeds and Manchester - could have dire consequences for the Capital and the rest of the country.