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Volume 455: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what approvals his Department has given for expenditure in Darlington since 1997. (108170)

Darlington has benefited greatly since 1997 from Government support for its transport needs.

Between 1997 and March 2006 Darlington borough council received around £22.2 million in block grant for capital investment for its local transport plans. An assessment of Darlington's second Local Transport Plan running until 2011 and a further funding package of support was published in a written statement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 18 December 2006, Official Report, columns 132-33WS.

In April 2004, Darlington was allocated £3.24 million over five years as a Sustainable Travel Town. In October 2005 the borough was awarded Cycling Demonstration Town status and allocated £1.5 million over three calendar years.

In the whole of the North East region a total of £457 million has been set aside over the next 10 years for local authority major schemes and Highways Agency schemes of regional importance.

In the advice from the North East to Government on the allocation of these funds, a £33 million scheme to improve the bus network across the Tees Valley, including Darlington, was identified as a priority. The Government have not yet approved this scheme but have confirmed that it would expect it to be added to the regional programme subject to the promoters producing a satisfactory business case that demonstrates value for money and deliverability.

Darlington has benefited from rail and trunk road improvements both across the North East and nationally, but funding for these is neither recorded nor allocated on an individual transport authority level.

The borough has also received very substantial central funding through revenue support grant. This is not allocated by the Government between individual council services.