South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar welcomed members of the A75/A77 Action groups, Council Leaders and representatives of ferry firm Stena to Holyrood last week for a meeting to brief MSPs on the need to upgrade the A75 and A77.
Hosting the event was a commitment Anas made to them when he visited Stranraer last year. The Scottish Labour leader understands that these routes are not only vital to the Wigtownshire economy, but all of Scotland as the gateway to Northern Ireland.
Although the First Minister didn’t take up Anas invite to attend last week’s meeting, the Transport Minister did agree to meet campaigners on the visit and the briefing itself attracted MSPs from all parties except the Greens as well as representatives from Northern Ireland.
Anas Sarwar said: “Scottish Labour strongly supports the dualling of the A75 and A77.
“Not only will this be a boon for the local economy but will make the road safer, greener, and better.
“Both roads are not only important to the economy of the south west, but all of Scotland as the gateway to Northern Ireland.
“As a starting point the Scottish Government should set out a clear programme of improvements to both roads in the forthcoming strategic transport projects review and that’s what Labour will be pressing for.”
Colin Smyth said: “Last week’s meeting was very positive and shows how serious Anas takes the issues around the need for to upgrade the A75 and A77.
“It was fantastic to welcome members of the A75/A77 Action Group, council leaders and representatives of ferry firm Stena to Holyrood but it’s now vital the Scottish Government listen to the clear message we heard from community-it’s time the South West got our fair share of the government road investment. We’ve waited long enough.
“For far too long, the south west of Scotland’s roads have been neglected and for the safety of roads users, and to support the local economy, that has to end.
“It is time to recognise that the upgrading of the A75 and the A77 is a strategic priority for the whole of Scotland.”
Linda Dorward, Co-Leader Dumfries and Galloway Council, and Leader of the D&G Labour Group attended last week’s meeting. She said: “Dumfries and Galloway Council, like South Ayrshire and Mid and East Antrim Borough Councils, is ambitious for our region and are actively engaged in growth deals with the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal and the South of Scotland Regional Economic Partnership and have robustly bid for funding under the UK Government Levelling Up and Shared Prosperity Funding processes.
“We want to grow our economy to support a business infrastructure that halts, in fact reverses, outward migration, promotes fair pay, lifts a number of D&G residents out of poverty and realises ambitious green targets.
“We know that to do this we need to provide the arterial infrastructure to ensure business are confident of investing and moving to this part of the country and we need Scottish Government to recognise and share that ambition.”