It has emerged that the £218 million from the Aberdeen city region deal that was to be used to slash train journey times to the central belt by 20 minutes will cut times by only two minutes. The money will certainly not dual track the Usan junction, on which the Scottish National Party first made a promise to the north-east in 2008—a promise that it reheated in 2016. What reassurances can the First Minister give that the 20-minutes claim was sufficiently evidenced in advance, and that the city region deal funding will generate real improvements for rail customers in Aberdeen?
At the risk of keeping the transport secretary very busy, I will ask him to write to the member on the specifics of the evidence behind the 20-minutes issue.
On the overall question, we are committed to ensuring continuing improvement for rail passengers in every part of the country. As Derek Mackay made clear in the budget statement yesterday, we are also committed to city region deals—and not just to the current deals, but to the roll-out of such deals across other parts of the country. City region deals offer huge potential for improvements, not just in transport, but in other areas of the economy.