A BUSINESS meeting has heard that the new Queensferry Crossing is starting to deliver benefits for the economy. Economy Secretary Keith Brown spoke of the boost when he addressed Fife Chamber of Commerce at the newly-renovated North Queensferry Hotel. The hotel, which overlooks the new bridge over the Forth, is in the process of hiring over 100 new staff.

Brown and local business leaders outlined the opportunities that lie ahead when the new crossing reaches motorway status and the Forth Road Bridge reopens as a public transport corridor. It is expected that the speed limit on the Queensferry Crossing will be raised from 40mph to 50mph in the next few weeks, with full motorway regulations coming into force later.

Brown said afterwards: “It was a fitting location for this meeting – a new development which has created more than 100 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.

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“Recently the Queensferry Crossing experienced winds gusting at over 50mph. In these conditions the Forth Road Bridge would have closed to high-sided vehicles, but the wind-shielding meant the 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. In our paper 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. 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 were pleased we were able to have a full and productive discussion with the Cabinet Secretary about 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 because it gives our members the opportunity to speak directly to the most senior people in government.”