CALLS are growing for the UK government to begin its £43bn high speed railway not just from England but from Scotland too.

Scottish business group N-56, which in a recent report suggested that HS2 should be extended to Scotland, picked up on comments made in Glasgow yesterday by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

Graeme Blackett from N-56 said that planning for the project had always assumed that the construction would start in London but he suggested: "Consideration should be given to also constructing connecting high speed services from Scotland.

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"This would improve transport connections between Scotland and Northern English cities as well as with London. There would also be environmental benefits."

Mr Blackett, who runs the Biggar Economics consultancy, added: "The economic benefits of extending this north of the border more than outweigh the costs."

Last week, Mr McLoughlin made clear how ­important it was that HS2 served "the whole country", stressing: "I want to see HS2 services going to Scotland and I'm working on those proposals at the moment."

In a speech this week, Mr McLoughlin said high speed rail would benefit Scotland by bringing it closer to England's main cities. The economic boost is put at £3bn but many feel this could be more if the project began not just from England but from Scotland too.