An MSP has written to North-east Tory MPs calling on them to stand against the economic impact of a major rail development.
SNP Donside MSP Mark McDonald has written to North-east Tory MPs, Ross Thomson, Andrew Bowie and Colin Clark, calling on them to take a stand in defence of the North-east economy against the impact of the HS2 rail project.
Westminster is set to press ahead with plans to spend £55 billion building a high-speed railway line-called HS2 to speed up journey times between London and the West Midlands, Manchester and Leeds.
But a recent KPMG report predicted Aberdeenshire would suffer a £220 million drop in economic output if HS2 goes ahead without Scotland.
Mr McDonald said: “To date, our local Tory MPs have been very adept at posting photos of themselves meeting government ministers, but have singularly failed to demonstrate that they are making any meaningful representations.
“The threat of HS2 to the North-east economy is stark, the North-east Tory MPs need to demonstrate that they genuinely have the interests of their constituents and the North-east economy at heart by standing up for the region.
“These MPs cannot deny the impact of this decision, as the government itself was quick to laud the KPMG report when the headline figure suggested an economic benefit to the UK, while not releasing the details of the regions which were set to lose out.”
But Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson said HS2 will help “improve connectivity” across the country.
He added: “The intention is to bring HS2 to Scotland, potentially connected at the Central Belt. If Mr McDonald truly is concerned about the North-east economy, then he needs to lobby his own First Minister to take Indy Ref 2 off the table. Our own businesses say that it is the biggest axe over the head of the North-east economy.”
The theory behind the report’s prediction is business representatives would prefer to trade with companies in cities that are easier to reach – at the expense of firms located further away from London..
UK Transport Minister Chris Grayling said the “huge project” is one that will feed the supply chain all around the UK.