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LOCAL MSP DISAPPOINTED BY LEVENMOUTH RAIL OMISSION FROM CITY DEAL
JENNY GILRUTH MSP VOWS TO “APPLY PRESSURE” FOR REINSTATEMENT OF VITAL LINK
Jenny Gilruth, MSP for Mid Fife & Glenrothes, has expressed her disappointment that the Levenmouth rail link has not been included within the Edinburgh & South East Scotland regional city deal, citing it as a “missed opportunity” for her constituency.
£1.1billion of funding was announced for the Edinburgh & South East Scotland region through the city regional deal last week. The deal is a funding agreement between the UK Government, the Scottish Government and relevant local authorities for investment in Edinburgh and the surrounding local authority areas. The Scottish Government and UK Government are both investing £300million into the Edinburgh deal.
However, Jenny Gilruth MSP believes that Fife should not be “cut adrift” from this investment, and has expressed her disappointment that the region’s top transport priority – the Levenmouth rail link – has not been committed to.
Commenting, Jenny Gilruth MSP said:
“The city region deal for Edinburgh and the surrounding areas has been a missed opportunity for my constituency.
“The city region deal for our capital should not just be about supporting industry within Edinburgh itself - it is meant to include Fife. I believe it should have included the Levenmouth rail link as vital infrastructure required to join up job opportunities in the capital and to drive investment outwith the city.
“The people of Fife deserve clarity on how exactly the agreed city deal will do that - and that is what I intend to seek.
“I will be writing to both the UK and the Scottish Government to clarify how much of the £1.1billion will be coming to Mid Fife and Glenrothes. It is imperative we are not cut adrift from this investment.”
Jenny Gilruth MSP has been a longstanding supporter and advocate for the reinstatement of the Levenmouth rail link, consistently raising the issue with Scottish Government Ministers, and in a meeting with the LMRC (Levenmouth Rail Campaign) campaigners and the Transport Minister.
Jenny Gilruth MSP added:
“I have tabled the Levenmouth Rail link for a Member’s Debate in Holyrood, which will ensure a direct response from the Transport Minister in the next parliamentary session.
“I will continue to use my role as the MSP for Levenmouth to apply pressure to Fife Council, the Scottish Government and to the UK Government to ensure the vital importance of its reinstatement is not lost.
“The Levenmouth Rail campaigners should be commended for their unstinting efforts as the local driving force behind the rail link – I will continue my work in partnership with them to this end.”
Jenny Gilruth has also criticised the new Shadow Secretary for State, Lesley Laird MP for Kirkcaldy, for failing to raise the issue in the Commons. Ms Gilruth, along with her colleague David Torrance MSP, wrote to Ms Laird in June, directly highlighting the need to work across party boundaries on this issue.
“I should also add that I am deeply disappointed that the Shadow Secretary for State, Lesley Laird, has not used her position to advocate in favour of the rail link – something she strongly supported prior to becoming an MP. Indeed, Ms Laird has yet to raise the issue in the Commons. As the former Deputy Leader of Fife Council and the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, I would have expected a demonstration of her support.”
Ms Laird has yet to respond to the letter.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The secured Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Regional Deal was announced on Thursday 20th July 2017. More information on the deal is available at:
A summary of the full deal can be read here.
In June, Jenny Gilruth MSP submitted motion (S5M-05941: “Levenmouth Rail Link”) to the Scottish Parliament calling for a Member’s Debate. The motion text reads:
“That the Parliament notes what it sees as the strong support that the Levenmouth Rail Campaign has achieved; believes this has been demonstrated by it organising a petition that has by signed by over 12,500 residents from the area that calls for the re-opening of the rail link from Thornton to Leven; welcomes the Fife Council report, Levenmouth Sustainable Transport Study – Final Stag Report, which was published in January 2017; understands that this study included a strongly positive cost-benefit analysis for the link and suggested that its re-opening would lead to major economic benefits; believes that, although the Levenmouth area faces high levels of economic deprivation and problems with connectivity, it has substantial opportunities for employment and economic development; considers that this project could help deliver this; understands that passenger numbers on other re-opened services, including the Borders Railway and the Airdrie-Bathgate line have exceeded predictions, and notes the view that a strong case has been made for ministers to give serious consideration to the re-opening of the Levenmouth line for passenger and freight services.”
For more information on the Levenmouth Rail Campaign, please visit:
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