Penny Mordaunt criticises SNP’s ‘appalling record’
The long-running saga of upgrading the A9 in Scotland has exposed the SNP’s “appalling betrayal” of rural communities, according to new research.
The latest figures put the much-delayed project “well over a century late”.
Calculations from the Scottish Conservatives show that, at the current rate of progress, the A9 will not be fully dualed for another 111 years.
The SNP originally pledged to have the work finished by the end of 2025 – just two years away.
The new analysis, which is based on Transport Scotland’s own figures, shows the “pitiful, snail-paced progress” of the SNP project, according to the Scottish Tories.
The Scottish Nationalists originally pledged back in 2011, when the project was predicted to cost £3billion.
This is £4.67billion today when adjusted for current prices, according to the Bank of England.
The SNP vowed to fully dual the A9 from Inverness to Perth, due to its strategic importance, connecting the Highland capital with central Scotland, and because of the number of accidents on the deadly road.
Eleven miles (18km) have been dualled in 10 years, leaving about 77 miles (124km) of road to still be upgraded.
In February this year, then-transport minister Jenny Gilruth said the 2025 target was “unachievable”.
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Instead of taking ownership of the delay, Ms Gilruth blamed it on the Covid pandemic, Brexit and the war in Ukraine.
Shadow transport minister Graham Simpson said the SNP-Greens continue to treat communities reliant on the A9 with contempt.
He confirmed that dualing the A9 would be a pledge in the next Scottish Conservative election manifesto, adding that the party “will always stand up for rural and remote Scotland”.
Mr Simpson said: said: “These figures demonstrate the appalling betrayal by the SNP of those who rely on the A9.
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“Every day that these essential upgrades are delayed, more lives are put at risk on this deadly road.
“It is beyond embarrassing – it’s shameful. SNP ministers were already making pitiful, snail-paced progress on this, but the addition of the anti-car Greens to government has made things worse.
“Despite the mounting death toll and the understandable fury of campaigners, they continue to drag their heels by delaying a promised statement to parliament.
“The rural communities who depend on the A9 want to see the talking stop and work to finally start on the huge stretches that remain single carriageways.
“Unlike the Nationalists, the Scottish Conservatives will always stand up for rural and remote Scotland, which is why dualling the A9 will be the first pledge in our General Election manifesto.”
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