If the local authorities decide to proceed with the stations, the Scottish Government will fund 50 per cent of the construction cost for each station, as I have already advised, subject, of course, to a suitable business case being provided. The offer of a 50 per cent contribution is significant and is consistent with the percentage of funding contribution offered for all other bids to the Scottish stations fund for new stations. I have informed the councils that I am considering their latest funding offer, but I remind the member and others that the Scottish stations fund is finite and is very competitive, with a number of applications needing to be considered.
There are sources within Transport Scotland that suggest that Transport Scotland does not want the stations to be reopened. Can the minister reassure me that that is not the case and that, if it is, the political will of the Government and the desirability of reopening the stations will ensure that those views are overridden?
I do not know what sources the member is referring to. I can give it to him directly from the Scottish Government that, of course, if the business case is there and if the councils are committed to it, which I am sure they are, there is no lack or hesitancy from the Scottish Government whatever on the opening of the stations. That is demonstrated by our putting forward a suggested contribution of 50 per cent, which is in line with other station fund bids that have come in.
I am considering the latest offer from the council, and I will give a response in the next few weeks, but the commitment from the Government is absolutely there. When I first convened a meeting on the matter in my new role, I was heartened by the cross-party support for the stations. With a good campaign by local campaigners, cross-party support, commitment from the Government and commitment from the councils, this can happen, but there is still a gap in funding that needs bridged, which I will consider.