Campaigners battling to have a key transport route dualled have welcomed the support of the chancellor.
During a visit to the region, George Osborne said he has recognised the strong case for upgrades on the A1 in Northumberland.
He was in the county to unveil a £22m fund to help rural businesses and during his visit, he stopped alongside the A1 with campaigner Anne-Marie Trevelyan to see for himself the reasons why upgrades to the single carriageway stretches are so desperately needed.
Mr Osborne’s visit comes on the back of a feasibility study commissioned by the Department for Transport that is currently under way and is examining the evidence in support of dualling.
The findings of the study will be presented to central government and if value-for-money criteria are met, funding could be given to upgrade the undualled section.
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Berwick, and director of the ‘Dual the A1’ campaign, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: “Residents and businesses know very well that dualling the A1 through Northumberland is vital, not only to the local economy but also in terms of safety.
“The benefits that a fully dualled A1 could bring would be felt both north and south of the border so it must remain a key strategic aim.
“That’s why I was delighted that the chancellor accepted my invitation to come and see for himself the potential that is waiting to be unleashed.
“Keeping the issue high on the government’s agenda is my number one priority and this visit shows that we are making progress.
“But we must continue to make the case for a better deal and a fully dualled A1.”
Mr Osborne added: “We have commissioned the feasibility study and we must wait to see what it finds, though personally I believe there is a compelling case.”