Draft Scottish Budget will exclude infrastructure project as pressure on public spending increases

The Scottish government is to shelve the £400m Glasgow airport rail link as pressure to cut public spending heightens.

Finance secretary John Swinney outlined the move to axe the Paisley to Glasgow airport line in the draft Scottish Budget, announced today.

He said: “At a time when many businesses and families are facing the challenges brought by the recession, it is imperative for government to respond effectively and decisively to support them.

“We have had to face difficult choices about where to reduce planned spending next year. We will meet this challenge while continuing to work with our partners to achieve our priorities and protect programmes that matter most to the people of Scotland.”

Andy Kerr, shadow finance secretary, said: “I called on ministers to respond to the recession by bringing forward a budget to get Scotland working. Instead, they have cancelled the Glasgow airport rail link, which will result in the loss of 1,350 jobs.

“He is not standing up for Scotland, he is letting Scotland down. The SNP was also responsible for cancelling the rail link to Edinburgh airport. This sends a terrible message to business and will leave our transport network stuck in the last century.”

Other bodies hit out at the decision and called for the rest of the transport budget to be protected. The Scottish branch of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association said: “We are very disappointed but not wholly surprised given the known constraints on the Scottish Government’s budget. We hope that the project will not be shelved completely because of the preparatory work already done by the client and the industry, and that it may be reconsidered at a later stage.

“We also hope the Scottish government is not considering further cuts to the Transport Scotland budget, and uses some of the savings from GARL on other much-needed infrastructure projects in Scotland.”

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