Call to extend Borders Railway to Carlisle

Monday June 18th 2018

Borders Railway Track

Today politicians from both Westminster and Holyrood have addressed the Borderlands Conference in Dumfries, where people from across the South of Scotland and North of England have met to discuss the impact that a Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal could have on the economy either side of the border.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) insists that there must be a clear focus on infrastructure and communications improvements as well as direct representation of the interests of small businesses. In particular, the FSB is calling for the successful Borders Railway to be extended to Carlisle.

Hans Waltl, FSB Leader in the Scottish Borders, said:

“Businesses in the Borders have high hopes for the Borderlands growth deal and it is up to the politicians to ensure that these expectations are fulfilled. In particular, we expect the foundations to be put in place for transformational projects such as the extension of the Borders Railway through Hawick to Carlisle. This would open up new economic possibilities for our region and foster even greater levels of cross-border activity, linking better with the West Coast Main Line and the new planned passenger services at Carlisle Airport.

“Alongside this, plans by both Transport Scotland and Highways England to upgrade the A1 to dual carriageway status between Edinburgh and Newcastle should be prioritised for funding; linking the eastern Borders better with nearby city economies. Bolstering the wider Borders economy should be investment in world class digital infrastructure to ensure that our businesses are able to compete in an increasingly global marketplace.

“With 94% of businesses in the Borders being micro or small businesses, it will also be important for the new growth deal to put these businesses at the heart of its work through the appointment of a small business champion. As the politicians hammer out the shape of the Borderlands deal, they must be ambitious for our local businesses.”

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