Connectivity

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th July 2018.

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Photo of John Lamont John Lamont Conservative, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk 12:00 am, 11th July 2018

What steps the Government are taking to support connectivity between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Photo of Paul Masterton Paul Masterton Conservative, East Renfrewshire

What steps the Government are taking to support connectivity between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

Scotland’s trade with the rest of the UK is, as we heard a moment ago, four times that with the EU, so good connectivity is vital to our shared prosperity. The recent vote on Heathrow was critical. Maintaining and enhancing routes to Scotland will bring key benefits, and more frequent and new routes will be served to help to improve connectivity.

Photo of John Lamont John Lamont Conservative, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

Many businesses in my constituency depend on customers and staff from south of the border, so what discussions has the Minister had with the Scottish Government about improving cross-border links on the A1, A68 and A7, and, crucially, the extension of the Borders Railway to Carlisle?

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that cross-border connectivity is crucial right across the United Kingdom. He and his constituents will quite rightly expect the UK Government to commit to working closely and constructively with the Scottish Government so that we have a joined-up approach. We are working on a day-to-day level, and at an official level between the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland. As for long-term projects, the potential of the borderlands growth deal could stand to be transformative for his constituents.

Photo of Paul Masterton Paul Masterton Conservative, East Renfrewshire

Does my hon. Friend agree with the managing director of Glasgow airport, Derek Provan, who said that additional flights resulting from a third runway at Heathrow are “imperative for Scottish business”, and can he guarantee that a good proportion of those additional flights will go from Glasgow?

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

My hon. Friend is absolutely right and so is the MD of Glasgow airport. The third runway is imperative for Scottish businesses, which is why we have set very clear expectations that 15% of the slots that are made available will be for domestic flights. It is disappointing that the Scottish National party did not vote for this expansion. [Interruption.]

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

I understand the sense of anticipation and excitement in the Chamber, but it seems very unfair on Paul Masterton that his question was not fully heard, and that we could not properly hear the mellifluous tones of a very courteous Minister. If there could be greater attentiveness to these important matters, it would be a great advance.

Photo of Martin Whitfield Martin Whitfield Labour, East Lothian

Will the Minister confirm his support for local councils, including my own of East Lothian, in their application for wave 3 funding for broadband roll-out from this Government?

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

I cannot give the hon. Gentleman specific confirmation at this point, but I would be more than happy to write to him, if he would allow me to.

Photo of Christine Jardine Christine Jardine Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland)

Does the Minister share the concern in Scotland that, although the third runway for Heathrow might be helpful to the south-east of England, the effect on the Scottish climate of those extra flights—rather than direct flights or improved rail services—could actually be damaging?

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

As the hon. Lady is probably aware, when we made the announcement and had the vote, we made a commitment to having a strong environmental plan. We will be looking at that very seriously.