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Public Transport, Manchester

Volume 264: debated on Monday 23 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about public transport in Greater Manchester. [36470]

Public transport in Greater Manchester is primarily a matter for the local authorities and transport operators concerned. Subject to financial constraints, the Government will continue to consider funding worthwhile public transport schemes in Greater Manchester.

The Minister will appreciate that there has been great difficulty maintaining a reliable bus service in the Ashton and Denton areas of my constituency because of the problems of traffic spilling off the M66, which at present stops in my constituency rather than continuing to Oldham. My constituents had been hoping that the motorway would be completed so that pressure on ordinary roads would be relieved. Can the Minister assure the House that the rumours circulating in Tameside to the effect that there are to be further delays with that motorway are ill founded?

The hon. Gentleman was kind enough to mention to me the nature of his question shortly before Question Time began. From the inquiries that I have been able to make, I can confirm that progress on the M66 contracts is proceeding normally, so I do not believe that there is any foundation for the rumours that the hon. Gentleman may have heard.

Is my hon. Friend the Minister surprised that the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) did not mention the tens of millions of pounds of investment by the Government in Manchester in support of its 2002 Commonwealth games and Olympic games bids? Does he not accept—

Order. Had the hon. Gentleman done so, he would have strayed far from the question and I would have stopped him.

But is not it a consequence of that investment that the tram system and other public transport systems now operate in Manchester?

Rushing to the aid of my hon. Friend, I entirely agree that the £140 million investment in the Manchester Metrolink has substantially improved the public transport scene there and put it in an even more agreeable position than heretofore to mount a very credible Olympic bid.

I should like to raise that matter on a point of order after Question Time, Madam Speaker.