Beith: A1 upgrade important for North East industry

The importance of investment in upgrades to the A1 was raised in the House of Commons on Monday by north Northumberland MP Sir Alan Beith, as part of a discussion of the Government’s industrial strategy.

Sir Alan said:“I welcome the Government’s announcement of a commission to consider strategy for the North East economy, chaired by Lord Adonis.

“May I impress on my right hon. Friend and the commission the importance of the A1 road link and of maintaining the Government’s commitment to renewable energy, both of which are important to industry in the North East?”

Speaking for the Government, Business Secretary Vince Cable replied: “My right hon. Friend is a formidable advocate of North East interests.

“He makes two specific points. I have heard the point about the road link many times. I do not know quite where we have got to in the process, but I will check up on it.

“He also emphasises the importance of renewable industries and will be aware that industries are beginning to revive on the Tyne, involving rigs for the North Sea, that were previously in the oil and gas sector but have adapted to renewables.

“We will see a great deal more such work on the east coast and, of course, it has explicit Government support, financial and otherwise.”

Speaking after the debate, Sir Alan said: “Upgrades to the A1, on stretches where preparatory work has already been carried out at Mousen Bends and between Morpeth to Felton, would provide jobs for North East business during the construction.

“And improving the road will only help the region’s economy by strengthening our links with the east of Scotland and shortening journey times.

“We have had empty promises from Conservative and Labour Governments in the past; I will not give up the fight for improvements.”