"River Forth Crossing (UK Government Assistance)
9. Willie Rennie (Dunfermline and West Fife) (LD): What recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive on UK Government assistance for the construction of a new crossing over the River Forth. 
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Stephen Timms): My right hon. Friends the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Secretary of State for Scotland met the Scottish Finance Minister in March to discuss financing for a new Forth bridge.
Willie Rennie: I warmly welcome the acceptance that the UK Government should help the Scottish Government to fund this vital new crossing, but when will the Government come forward with real new money to help to pay for the bridge? Will they also consider speedily bringing in new borrowing powers for the Scottish Government, so that they can spread the cost over a number of years, as has been proposed by the Calman commission?
Mr. Timms: I am glad to recognise the importance of the second Forth crossing, and to support the importance of its construction. Funding, however, is a devolved decision, and this is a matter for the Scottish Executive to determine. My right hon. Friends offered flexibility to help within the economic framework applying to the UK as a whole, and I hope that that flexibility will allow the project to proceed.
Rob Marris (Wolverhampton, South-West) (Lab): Can my right hon. Friend assure me that the Government will hold firm on this? Scotland already gets shedloads of extra money under the Barnett formula. It is entitled to raise its own taxes, and this Government should stand firm against this bridge, for which it wants even more money.
Mr. Timms: My hon. Friend makes a forceful point. Let me simply say that this is an important project, but it needs to be carried out within the economic framework applying to the UK as a whole. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor has just set out some of the Government’s constraints and objectives in relation to the public finances over the next five years, and this decision needs to be made within that context."