>> 20 April 2010

SNP Gordon Westminster Candidate, Richard Thomson, has called for construction of high speed rail links to begin in Scotland at the same time as they do south of the border.

His call came as north-south rail and bus service frequencies were being increased, as flights remained grounded due to the ash from the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano in Iceland.

Making clear that the SNP would use its influence in a balanced parliament at Westminster to push forward development of such a high speed link rather than waiting 30 years for an extension to make its way to Scotland, Mr Thomson said:

"From the shutdown of our airports due to poor winter weather to the transport restrictions we have faced in recent days, the case for high-speed rail from Scotland has never been clearer. Frankly, a 30-year wait without any real commitment from any of the London parties of actually delivering the line is unacceptable.

“A high speed link, from the North of Scotland southwards, would not only help improve links between Scotland’s cities and the rest of the European rail network, it will be a big boost for business and help us to meet our climate change obligations."

Elsewhere in the party’s manifesto, there were commitments to create 60,000 new green jobs by 2020; to increase pensions in line with earnings and protect OAP concessionary travel; to press for the scrapping of Trident nuclear missiles and a halt to their replacement; a fair fuel regulator to protect motorists from soaring fuel prices; and a commitment to protect rural postal services by upholding the Royal Mail’s universal delivery obligation.

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