|An independent Scotland could require more than the ‘benefits of £24bn’ to both pay for the extension of HS2 and the subsidies of the existing railway(s)|
In a St George’s Day speech, FM Alex Salmond told an invited audience of business people that ‘a successful Scotland will become a new beacon of growth to the north, shifting the centre of economic gravity of these islands and preventing the flow of power, wealth & talent flow downhill to the south east’.
He said independence for Scotland would cause an economic rebalancing of Britain and the Scottish Government would refuse to wait 30 years for high speed rail to be delivered by Westminster and instead will commission a feasibility study on work on HSR beginning from the north heading south. The Scottish Government will also ‘push forward its responsibility to make improvement to the West Coast rail line north and improve the transport connectivity between Carlisle and the south west of Scotland, creating a ‘a conurbation of connectivity’.
During the speech, the First Minister told a gathering of business people that a railway line from London to Manchester and Leeds would bring £3bn benefit to Scotland – but a full High Speed Rail connection would bring £24bn and lead a major shift from air to rail.