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[ 27-10-2009 ]

Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) have today called on the Scottish Government to put Scotland's economy first and put the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) project back into their budget plans.  SCC's call came as it gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee as part of its inquiry on the Scottish Budget process.  Speaking after of the meeting, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

"We recognise that Governments at all levels are facing an ever tightening spending squeeze, and the Scottish Government in no exception.  It is therefore vital that Scottish Ministers remind themselves of their central stated ambition - to increase Scotland's sustainable economic growth - and ensure that each and every spending decision they make can be justified in these terms.
"It is therefore extremely disappointing that one of the first areas to be hit as Scotland faces a real terms budget cut has been infrastructure spending, and in particular the axing of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link. Scotland needs a robust transport infrastructure that facilitates the rapid movement of people and goods both domestically and internationally.  We need a connected transport system which links our strategic road, rail, air and sea connections and GARL, together with the Glasgow Crossrail project, ought to be a key part of that jigsaw.
"This should not become a debate about east versus west.  It is about building a national transport system that is designed for our future needs and is geared towards delivering a competitive advantage to Scotland and our economy.  It is about building partnerships between our public and private sectors to deliver joined up thinking and a joined up Scotland."