The Scottish Labour Party claim to have the “missing link” in Scotland’s railway

The Scottish Labour party leader, Jim Murphy, announced at the Core Cities UK Devolution Summit earlier this month that if Labour win the 2016 elections, they will implement a multi-million pound Crossrail project, describing it as the “missing link” in the Scottish railway system. Murphy stated that the new Holyrood borrowing powers would be used to fund the project which would link the north and east to those in the south and west of Scotland. “2015 sees Scotland get new borrowing powers as part of the pre-referendum Edinburgh agreement.”

At the summit which took place at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on the 9th of February, Murphy pledged that the project would have the power to create a “twin city powerhouse” for Edinburgh and Glasgow which could potentially serve around four million passengers per year, with the aim to compete with closely linked cities such as London and Greater Manchester.

The Strathclyde Partnership for Transport stated that the project could create up to 130 new jobs over 10 years while contributing £36m to Glasgow’s economy. However, the project would also come at a staggering cost with previous years’ estimates reaching as much as £200m (BBC). Nevertheless, the project is expected to have tremendous long-term benefits for large cities in the UK, outweighing the initial high costs.

In London there is an even more extensive railway project in process with 42km of new Crossrail tunnels currently in development

“The Crossrail route will link existing Network Rail services from Reading and Heathrow in the west, and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east through 42 kilometres of tunnels and new underground stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel and Canary Wharf.”

London’s Crossrail project or “missing link” is forecast to be completed in 2018 and projected to have many long and short term benefits for both the capital and the UK, “The benefits of Crossrail to the UK economy are calculated at £42bn, resulting in a £17bn tax boost for the Treasury.“

Nearly a third of funding has been provided by the Department of Transport grant to Transport of London. The remaining funds have been sourced from private sector contributions, revenue from future fares and a supplement on business rates (BRS), paid by larger businesses in London. This highlights the enormity of Murphy’s pledge and the potential financial commitment from the Scottish Government. This suggests political parties are pro-actively taking advantage of financially intensive opportunities now more accessible with the Scotland’s new borrowing powers in time for the 2016 elections.

Because of the ongoing construction boom in Scotland, the events company Oliver Kinross, head-quartered in London, will be holding an event solely dedicated to the Scottish construction industry. The event, Scotland Build will consist of a two day exhibition and high level conference which will bring to together key stakeholders and decision makers from across the Scottish construction industry. Scotland Build will take place at the SECC in Glasgow on the 25th and 26th November 2015, hosting more than 175 exhibitors and thousands of high quality attendees.

With numerous event partnerships with the likes of Scottish Renewables and the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) already confirmed, along with CPD accredited workshops, Scotland Build is set to be a huge success with over eight months to go. Registration for Scotland Build 2015 is now open and is free to attend. Please visit our website for more information.