WESTMINSTER owes Scotland £3 billion after the Government decided to scrap the HS2 rail link extension to Glasgow, the SNP have said.

The announcement which saw the promised transport upgrade abandoned came a week ago – quietly put out 30 minutes before the results of Boris Johnson’s confidence vote were due.

It was confirmed that Conservative ministers would not be going ahead with the £3bn 13-mile Golborne Link in Greater Manchester, cutting the proposal from the HS2 Phase 2b Bill despite it having featured in the Integrated Rail Plan.

The link was set to connect the high-speed line from Crewe to Manchester with the West Coast Main Line south of Wigan.

While the extension would have created more capacity and reduced journey times between Glasgow and England, it would have transformed the rail network in the north of England and Midlands.

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The rail industry reacted angrily to the news, which came just months after the UK Government abandoned its plan to extend HS2 to Leeds.

Now the UK Government’s HS2 minister has pledged to look at alternatives to ensure HS2 reaches Scotland. However, the SNP say this isn’t enough.

SNP MSP Kaukab Stewart said: “Once again Scotland is set to lose out on billions as a result of empty Tory promises, Scotland is all too familiar with this story, when it comes to Westminster all we get in return is cuts, not cash.

“When it comes to transport, we heard broken promises about the ridiculous Boris bridge and now we can add the HS2 extension to Glasgow to the scrapheap.

“We cannot trust the Tories to invest in transport in Scotland or any other public service for that matter. Boris Johnson is full of bluster when it comes to connectivity, but he fails to back any of it up.”

The Glasgow Kelvin MSP argued that the Scottish Government has a track record in delivering for Scotland on transport, with new lines and stations having opened across the country. Last month Reston in the Scottish Borders became the newest station to relaunch, following a £20 million investment from Holyrood.

The National:

Stewart also promoted the money going into decarbonising Scotland’s railway lines. Construction is set to begin on electrifying the Fife railway route this month as part of a £55m scheme.

“That is why the only way we can protect Scotland from broken promises and Tory cuts is to become an independent country,” she said.

The UK Government was heavily criticised last week after deciding to reveal the HS2 news on such a huge day for political news.

“This sleekit move sums up Boris Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister – cowardly and shameful,” the SNP’s shadow transport secretary said after the revelation.

Rail bodies also expressed their fears, with concern focusing on the risk of “bottlenecks” emerging on the network north of Crewe.

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“It is hugely disappointing to discover that, on a day when much political attention was focused elsewhere, the Government confirmed that the Golborne Link is to be removed from the HS2 project,” the Railway Industry Association, Rail Freight Group and High Speed Rail Group said in a joint statement.

“Without this connection, a bottleneck will be created north of Crewe on the West Coast Main Line, which in turn will negatively impact outcomes for passengers, decarbonisation and levelling up.”

They went on: “Given the Government has now decided that it does not wish to proceed with the Golborne Link, it is absolutely essential it confirms as quickly as possible how ministers intend to protect the benefits of HS2 investment, and does so without delay.

“Such an important, strategic question of how HS2 services connect into Scotland cannot be left open or uncertain.”