NORTH Ayrshire's MP has questioned a senior cabinet minister on vital funding due to be provided for the area.

Patricia Gibson pressed Michael Gove for answers with regards to the levelling-up funding the UK Government is set to provide for the upgrade of the B714.

The road between Saltcoats and Dalry, which is vital for commuters, currently has many narrow sections with tight bends, with some localised widening on the road, meaning the current geometry poses a challenge for all road users.

It is hoped that by upgrading the route, it will significantly improve connectivity between North Ayrshire and Glasgow, the central belt and wider motorway network.

Initial plans for the work to be carried out were submitted to North Ayrshire Council for approval in Febraury and are still pending consideration.

The vast works were initially set to cost around £26.7 million, with North Ayrshire Council successful in its application for £23.7m of funding for the project from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF) in October 2021.

This award equated to 90 per cent of the project’s costs at that time, and was match-funded with £3m from the council’s Investment Fund to provide the 10 per cent balance required.

However, in August last year it was confirmed that the costs had risen from to £31.7m, forcing the council's cabinet to approve £5m in extra funding to support the project.

With the project still to begin Ms Gibson pressed Mr Gove, the secretary of state of levelling up, on iwhether the UK Government would be factoring ever-increasing inflation like this into the funding it would provide.

Speaking in Westminster, she said: “The levelling-up funding awarded to my constituency three years ago for the upgrade of the B714 is not still delivered.

“However, when raising concerns that this funding is insufficient for this upgrade given inflationary pressures, the secretary of state for levelling up told me to raise this with the department for transport, which in turn referred me back to the secretary of state for levelling up.

“Can I have an explanation from the secretary of state as to how approved projects can proceed as envisaged even if funding is delivered, if inflation is not factored into this funding?”

Mr Gove offered the MP a meeting with him, alongside the local council and MSP, before adding: “I know that she is absolutely committed to making sure that levelling-up fund, UK Government money, is spent effectively in her constituency. Proof that we work better together.”