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A9 dualling announcement expected ‘in the coming days’ says Scottish Government minister George Adam

By Scott Maclennan

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A9 dualling project sign near Inverness.
A9 dualling project sign near Inverness.

The Scottish Government’s minister for parliamentary business George Adam has said that the A9 dualling update to Holyrood is expected “in the coming days” during an unclear exchange this afternoon.

He was responding to Highland MSP Edward Mountain who demanded to know what happened to the “autumn backstop” promised by transport minister Mairi McAllan.

Mr Mountain asked if the Scottish Government “plans to propose the scheduling of time for a ministerial statement on the dualling of the A9?” and was told by Mr Adam: “We expect to update parliament on our renewed programme in the coming days."

Stating the Scottish Government has “form” for not delivering on its promises, Mr Mountain cited the original vow to deliver the A9, the failure to do so by 2025, and subsequent delays to the update that was expected in the autumn.

He said: “Surely this government would be much better off to be honest and to come to this chamber without being forced to tell us when we will find out when they are going to deliver on the promises they have so far failed to keep.”

Mr Adams repeated his assertion that something would emerge “we expect to update parliament on our renewed programme in the coming days” before LibDem MSP Willie Rennie demanded clarity.

He asked: “Does the minister not understand the irritation that is felt throughout the Highlands and in fact throughout the whole of Scotland over the prevarication from the government and the minister can’t give us vague answers. Is he proposing a statement before Christmas or is he not?”

Mr Adams said: “I really don’t think I could be any clearer in saying that ‘in the coming days’ there will be details about the statement, that is pretty obvious what everyone can take from that.”

But that clearly alters the meaning of his original answer whether there will be a statement or whether there will be an announcement about when the statement will be.

Mr Mountain was dissatisfied with the timing, saying: “We are now past the Autumn, and it is unacceptable that the Scottish Government can promise details of the vital dualling of the A9 and then completely renege on them. Sadly they have form on breaking their promises on the A9.

“Although I clearly welcome the minister for parliamentary business’s confirmation that a statement will be given to the parliament, ‘in the coming days’, this should have been done when promised so that the parliament could scrutinise it properly before recess.

“The negative economic impact that this continued delay is having on Highlanders, who are predominantly affected, should not be underestimated”.

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