We have invested heavily in rail infrastructure and services, having spent more than £8 billion since 2007. We have provided significant investment of some £4.85 billion for the five-year period between 2019 and 2024. As part of our investment, the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that the railways meet future growth needs for passengers and freight. An example of that is our commitment to deliver the new railway at Levenmouth, providing new fully accessible stations at Leven and Cameron Bridge.
In Levenmouth, a leadership group of community councillors, Levenmouth rail campaign representatives and residents has been established and is playing a key role in deciding how the £10 million that is being supplied by the Scottish Government and Fife Council for the Levenmouth blueprint is spent.
Does the cabinet secretary agree that such groups, which are part of the wider programme of consultation with communities, are vital to ensuring that local community funding is of maximum benefit to local people?
I agree with my colleague on this matter. When we announced that we were reconnecting Levenmouth to the rail network, we set out that we would provide £5 million to support associated works and make sure that the maximum economic benefit could be gained from the reconnection. Fife Council has matched that, which means that £10 million is being provided, which will support the wider benefits that are associated with reconnecting Levenmouth to the rail network.
The Levenmouth reconnection work is being taken forward by a task force that is being led by Fife Council and which has on it a range of local stakeholders. Once the line has been reconnected, the task force will have an important part to play in maximising the local and regional benefits that will come from this significant investment in the area and the improvement in its transport connectivity.