Brexit Bill will help improve Scotland’s roads, Scottish secretary Alister Jack claims

The controversial Internal Market Bill will help improve Scotland’s roads, it has been claimed.

Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 4:45 pm
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack

Scottish secretary Alister Jack today declared the Bill would unleash a flurry of big spending in Scotland, sparking a revolution in the country’s transport links.

Speaking at an event at the virtual Tory party conference, Mr Jack also claimed the SNP opposing the Bill made him like it more.

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He said: “Historically the EU has been able to spend money in Scotland, but the UK Government hasn't on things such as transport structure.

“This is something we are changing through the UK Internal Market Bill. It’s a very important piece of legislation as it will allow us to look at our rail links and our road links.”

Mr Jack explained this would include the A75 as a euro route, the A1, as well as multiple rail links.

He continued: “This is something the SNP have opposed. They don’t like the Bill, which makes me like it more, and they don’t like the idea that the UK Government can spend money directly in Scotland after January, which is strange as they were very happy with the EU spending money.

“It’s as usual looking through the prism of independence - EU good, UK bad.”

SNP, Labour and Green MSPs have all raised concerns about the Bill’s impact on the devolution settlement and the Government's ability to set its own food standards, as well as potential privatisation of the NHS.

It has received criticism for “breaking international law”, while the SNP also claim it is a “power grab”.

The UK Government insists when the UK’s transition period ends on 1 January, powers will be returned from Brussels to the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Michael Gove has insisted it is actually handing more influence to Scotland, claiming it is a "power surge".

Speaking today, Mr Jack also accused Holyrood of not recognising how beneficial the union was, and suggested they think about just how much support the UK Government provides.

He said: “I think it's important that both governments work together, I often feel that the Scottish Government look at every issue through the lens of separation, rather than thinking about the economy of Scotland.

“We have to save lives, but we also have to save livelihoods, and it's what's good for the Scottish economy that's good for Scottish jobs and prosperity.

“I think that's terribly important going forward that the Scottish Government look at these decisions and look at the support the Treasury is giving and take into account we are one United Kingdom.”

His comments came during an event that saw Mr Jack praise the new independent review into transport connections across the UK.

Led by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, it will focus on improving air links, boosting road and rail for Scotland, cutting journey times to North Wales and building a fixed link between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The UK Government insists the review will work with the devolved administrations and provided “provide independent, honest advice”.

Mr Jacked claimed the review was “absolutely critical”, and that for too long Westminster had been unable to act.

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