Economy Secretary meets Fife businesses

A business meeting has heard how the new Queensferry Crossing is starting to deliver benefits for the economy. 

Addressing Fife Chamber of Commerce today, Economy Secretary Keith Brown visited the newly renovated North Queensferry Hotel which overlooks the spectacular bridge and is in the process of hiring 150 new staff.

Mr Brown and local business leaders outlined the opportunities in the weeks and months ahead as the new crossing reaches motorway status and the Forth Road Bridge reopens as a public transport corridor. Mr Brown also looked forward to future investment opportunities and asked for views on what more the Scottish Government can do to support local growth.

The speed limit on the Queensferry Crossing is currently 40 mph and it’s expected this will be lifted to 50 mph in the coming weeks, with full motorway regulations coming into force later in the year. Once the new bridge is a fully operational motorway the speed limit will be 70 mph.

Mr Brown said:

“This was a fitting location for this meeting - a new development which has created 150 jobs primarily due to the construction of the impressive new Queensferry Crossing. I believe it will be the first of many new investments in the local and wider economy thanks to improved connectivity and a more resilient infrastructure.

“Recently the Queensferry Crossing experienced winds gusting at over 50 mph. In these conditions the FRB would have closed to high-sided vehicles, however the wind-shielding in place meant that that new structure remained open to all vehicles. Creating a more resilient transport network is crucial to hauliers and Scotland’s economy.

“However while we are taking action to improve the opportunities for the Fife economy, we know that the continued uncertainty caused by Brexit is concerning local business. We have published a paper today looking at what’s at stake for business across Scotland. It’s clear that the impact will be great – affecting recruitment, profits and hampering business growth.

“It was a topic that was discussed at my meeting with the Fife Chamber of Commerce this morning. We must continue to listen to the voices of business as the Brexit process develops to ensure Scotland’s economy remains strong.”

Alan Mitchell, Chief Executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, said:

“We are delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary to Fife today and we are pleased that we were able to have a full and productive discussion with him about so many different issues that are important to businesses in Fife.  This aspect of the Chamber’s work is not necessarily well known but it is very significant for us because it gives our members the opportunity to speak directly to the most senior people in government and tell them what support they need to create the jobs and the wealth that Fife depends on.”

Commenting on the opening of the new DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh – Queensferry Crossing, General Manager, Stuart Douglas said:

“The opening is a huge boost for the local economy. The owners have invested a massive £15 million and this is reflected in the facilities and services that the hotel now offers. This is great news for the local area  and the new Queensferry Hotel now employs over 100 local people, in both full and part-time positions. That number will swell in the coming months as we look to recruit local people to bolster the permanent team over the busy festive period. I also anticipate that further permanent positions will be created in the coming 12 to 18 months as the business grows.”