Raith U-Turn

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AFTER pleading poverty last month the Scottish Government has announced it now has the funding to undertake improvement works on the Raith Interchange.

In the March 21 edition of the Bellshill Speaker, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil claimed they needed financial assistance from the Westminster Government to move forward with a £508 million motorway project.

Mr Neil said the project was ‘shovel ready’ and called for £37.8 million to be sent north which would be used to advance public utilities.

As well as work to improve Raith Interchange, the project also combines upgrading the A8 Baillieston to Newhouse, completing the motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as widening key sections of the M8, M73 and M74.

Last week the Scottish Government released £2.5 billion for non-profit distributing projects, the first time this scheme has been made available to a roads project.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “On completion the M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project will boost the nation’s economy by improving connections between the commercial centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh and beyond.

“The Scottish Government’s spending on infrastructure projects is a key driver in boosting the country’s economy. In these difficult economic times providing hundreds of jobs in the hard-pressed construction industry plays a key part in delivering our vision of a wealthier, fairer and better connected Scotland.”

Last month Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Michael McMahon claimed funding for the project was in place when Labour left office in 2007.

He accused Mr Neil of using the issue to try and drive a further wedge between Holyrood and Westminster to boost the independence agenda.

Mr McMahon said: “Does this not just indicate that their budget demand was just another political ploy as I suggested it was, or is this just smoke and mirrors?”

Full story in April 4 edition of Bellshill Speaker