‘Investment in A1 should be replicated in Scotland’

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Berwickshire commuters have welcomed the announcement that the UK Government will invest in the A1 north of Newcastle.

Following last week’s spending review, the chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander told Parliament that a “better” A1 north of Newcastle was an investment that the Government would “make sure” was delivered.

In his speech, Mr Alexander said money had been earmarked to “identify and deliver solutions for the most notorious problem spots across the country” over the next few years. He continued: “Any Honourable Member planning a future trip to Scotland – a Scotland as part of a strong United Kingdom – will want to see a better A1 north of Newcastle.”

The announcement follows years’ of campaigning for the A1 to be dualled, on safety grounds, and to improve the economy in the north of England and south of Scotland.

Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith met with Mr Alexander on Thursday following the announcement, which was somewhat vague, and received assurances that there was provision for dualling parts of the A1.

Mr Alexander told him that there was provision for dualling parts of the A1 in the allocation of funding, and that a study to be carried out was not about whether the work to improve the road should be done, but was, in fact, a technical study on road design.

Borders MP Michael Moore is now calling on the Scottish Government to match the investment, and dual the A1 in Scotland.

Mr Moore said: “I have been campaigning for the dualling of the A1 both north and south of the border for many years because congestion on the single carriageway is unsafe for road users and damaging for businesses here in the Borders.

“This is why I welcome the commitment from the Chief Secretary that the Government will improve the A1 south of the border.

“I want the Scottish Government to match this investment and dual the A1 in Scotland to benefit our economy and road users here in the Borders.”

Berwickshire MSP John Lamont added: “Once again this is an encouraging announcement from the UK Government which shows that the upgrading of the A1 remains one of their top priorities. The infrastructure investments they are making south of the border will help the economy of the north east of England, yet in Scotland we are failing to see the same investment.

“The thousands of Borders residents who use the A1 every year are calling out for this road to be dualled.”