High-speed rail would benefit Scotland - Jo
Jo has emphasised the benefits of extending the High Speed 2 rail project to Scotland.
Speaking during a debate in Parliament, Jo also urged fellow MPs to consider the advantages a potential route would deliver to their constituents.
Commenting, Jo said:
"I hope that the Government will press forward with a future extension to Scotland, and consider the huge benefits it would bring to many people here in East Dunbartonshire.
"The arrival of a high-speed connection between the UK's major cities and Glasgow would herald shorter journey times, greater economic benefits and provide passengers with a greener alternative to domestic air travel. It is therefore vital that Scotland is not left out of the ongoing debate on the high-speed railway's planned route."
Notes to Editors
1. The text of Jo's interventions in the debate are as follows:
Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing the debate. He makes a strong case, as one would expect from a constituency MP working on behalf of his constituents. Does he accept that there may be some benefits for his constituents? The alternative to high-speed rail is that people do not travel or-more likely-that journeys are made by air or by road. That has an impact on the environment in the form of air pollution, for example, and noise nuisance, which might also affect his constituents.
Jo Swinson: The hon. Gentleman is making the point that the current rail network is not a truly free-market, capitalist system, but will he not accept that there is a role for the state to play in markets where there is market failure-for example, where there has to be a national network-as has been well documented by
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many economists? Will he also confirm that he stood on a manifesto platform at the election that promised to
"begin work immediately to create a high speed rail line connecting London and Heathrow with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds"
as the "first step" towards achieving a vision of a
"national high speed rail network to join up major cities across England, Scotland and Wales"?
Jo Swinson: I am very much enjoying the hon. Gentleman's speech. Does he accept that building high-speed rail with a Y shape going as far as the north-west will bring benefits to other parts of the country, including Scotland? Extending high-speed rail to Scotland would cut the journey time from four and a half hours to more like two hours. Even as it is being built, it will start to decrease the journey times because people will be able to change trains part way through, if they wish.
The full debate can be viewed online at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtoday/cmwhall/01.htm