More issues to go back to capital

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg answers questions from Berwick locals.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg answers questions from Berwick locals.

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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that improvements to the A1 in Northumberland are being examined by the Government, but stopped short of promising an upgrade to dual carriageway.

During a visit to Berwick last Thursday, he said: “I don’t have a magic wand, and I don’t come bearing an absolute guarantee dualling will happen.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg answers questions from Berwick locals.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg answers questions from Berwick locals.

“But what I can tell you is Danny Alexander has been doing excellent work with the Department of Transport, looking at the business case, and there will be an outcome from that in March.

“That’s an important step. I don’t know where it will lead, we have to be led by the evidence.

“I entirely understand that this is something that everyone wants to see happen. I’ve had experience of the route myself and I will do again, as I drive northwards.

“In the meantime, I’m acutely aware of the strength of feeling here, and I totally understand this is an umbilical cord for the region.

Nick Clegg with Jeff Sutheran, Chair of the North Northumberland Tourism Association.

Nick Clegg with Jeff Sutheran, Chair of the North Northumberland Tourism Association.

“It’s an absolutely vital route south on which so many families and businesses depend.”

Jeff Sutheran, chairman of North Northumberland Tourism Association, was invited by MP Sir Alan Beith to meet Mr Clegg, along with other business leaders.

“The discussion gave me an opportunity to talk to the Deputy PM about the things which make it difficult for small tourism businesses to make a living here in Northumberland,” he said.

“It’s not the same up here as being in the Home Counties or the Cotswolds, for example.

“We contend with a much greater isolation here in the north, and so I highlighted the importance of continued strategic marketing for the county.”

The Deputy Prime Minister was in Berwick for a one-day visit, which included a public Q and A session as well as meeting leaders of the business community.