EU ‘could help fund high-speed rail link’

A £7 BILLION European transport fund could help provide the solution to Scotland’s bid for a high-speed rail link to London, the SNP has claimed.

MEP Alyn Smith is calling on the UK government to use the EU’s Trans-European Network – Transport scheme (TEN-T) as a possible mechanism for the rail link, which is currently planned to run only between London and Birmingham.

A campaign is under way to extend the line north of the Border, and the Scottish Government’s infrastructure plan this month pencilled in a Scottish contribution of £8bn-£9bn towards this. It is estimated it would cost £15bn to extend the line from the north of England to Scotland.

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“The UK is already well behind the curve when it comes to high-speed rail, and the lacklustre plans of the Westminster government will only see Scotland fall further behind the rest of the world,” Mr Smith said.

“The European Union offers an opportunity with the TEN-T budget, which is aimed at providing an improved European network, exactly what Scotland needs and what high-speed rail would do.”