M74 extension jobs boost ‘not credible’.

Published, April 21st 2002.

The “jobs boost” for Scotland which would result from the controversial M74 extension has undergone a 15-fold increase from 2900 to 44,000 in just eight years, the Sunday Herald has learned. According to sustainable transport pressure group Transform Scotland, the figures demonstrate how desperate planners and the Scottish Executive are to win over the public to the £245 million scheme.

An independent report referenced in The Herald in 1994 claimed the motorway extension would generate “between 2900 and 4000 jobs”. But by 1998, a Scottish Enterprise study was quoting a figure of 6000- 6700. In 2001, Glasgow City Council leaders argued the scheme would bring 12,000 new jobs to the city, sparking massive regeneration. That was followed up with a credulous report in The Scotsman – just a month later – which suggested completing the link would create 28,000 jobs and safeguard 14,000 more.

The most recent figure, says Spaven, is a claim from Glasgow Chamber of Commerce last September that “it has been calculated there is the opportunity to secure or safeguard 44,000 jobs as a result of the new road”. “This shows the increasingly desperate lengths which proponents of the M74 extension are having to go to justify the project,” he added.

“Over eight years we have seen increasingly wild claims,” Spaven said. “This shows there has been a real lack of robust analysis of the actual effect of this major piece of transport infrastructure. Instead we have a number of figures bandied about by specialist interests with a terrible lack of intellectual integrity.”