The £345m Borderlands Deal announced last week WON’T be used to finally turn the A75 into a dual carriageway as many hoped.
This bad news was delivered by the leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Elaine Murray, as fears grew that Galloway might miss out on a fair share of the UK and Scottish governments’ cash injection in face of competing demands from The Borders, Carlisle, Cumbria and Northumberland councils.
Cumbria and Carlisle alone have a ‘wish list’ of £167m of projects and it has become clear that only £150m of the £345m total is earmarked for projects this side of the border despite the Prime Minister seeming to imply in Westminster on Wednesday that the Deal was a “Scottish” economic boost.
Councillor Murray explained: “In Scotland, between ourselves and Scottish Borders Council, the Scottish government will provide up to £85m over the 10 years and the UK government will provide up to £65m.
“However, the governments have said that if there are projects which are ready to go they would probably release the money earlier,”
But none of these ‘shovel-ready’ projects so far identified are in Galloway.
She went on: “It is not the sort of money that could dual the A75, for example; it is not money of that magnitude but it is money that if it is used wisely and it is used together with other sources of funding to produce the maximum effect it could make a real difference to our region.
“Deal money for Chapelcross Energy Park in Annan is all very well but what is it going to do for Stranraer?
“What is it going to do for Wigtownshire?
“What is the benefit to the rest of Dumfries and Galloway?” she added.