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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

MEETING WITH MICHAEL GOVE MP TO PROGRESS THE B714 UPGRADE


On Tuesday, Patricia Gibson MP, NAC Chief Executive Craig Hatton and I had a meeting with Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove MP to discuss the B714.


In 2021, Patricia, NAC and I all agreed on the strategic case for submitting a bid to the UK Government to upgrade the B714 from Dalry to Saltcoats.


This would make sense in terms of enhancing connectivity between the three towns and Hunterston with Glasgow etc;


Mr Gove agreed and in October 2021 announced that this was one of only eight projects to be awarded funding - £23.7 million, with NAC contributing a further £3 million.


Since then, the project has yet to start on site. Rising construction inflation and a refusal of the UK Government to acknowledge it, meant a further £5 million had to be found by NAC, which the SNP Cabinet agreed last August.


However, to deliver the project as intended, further support is needed. Mr Gove agreed to meet us, and we had a very constructive conversation. Both the UK Department of Transport and Levelling Up have been denying responsibility for delays and the frozen funding, pointing the finger at each other, in answer to questions Patricia asked in the House of Commons. Nevertheless, Mr Gove said he would endeavour to speak to Transport Secretary Mark Harper MP to ‘sort it.’


Now, of course, an election has been called!


It remains to be seen therefore if a new UK Government will honour existing ‘levelling up’ commitments.


Certainly, after the resources already dedicated to securing the initial award and preparing the business case, an upgrade of the B714 should be funded and we will press to ensure it is.

ENDS

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Kenneth Gibson SNP

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