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Transport Scheme Funding

Volume 540: debated on Thursday 23 February 2012

10. Which transport schemes will be funded by both her Department and the regional growth fund. (95958)

One transport project secured funding from both the Department and the regional growth fund—the low emission transport and sustainable manufacturing north-east bid from Gateshead college, which was successful in round 2 of the regional growth fund. The project was awarded £6.3 million as part of a £45.6 million package that includes £3 million from the Government’s “Plugged-in Places” programme. Both funding streams support the development of high-quality transport technology for low-emission vehicles.

The Labour Welsh Government are funding the building of a relief road to Wrexham industrial estate to facilitate growth and to help create jobs. Unfortunately, the Government on the Cheshire side of the border are blocking good access. The project, which is extremely important, could help to facilitate growth, should the Government believe in that. Can the regional growth fund help?

The regional growth fund has been very well received and is producing jobs in areas of high unemployment and from where the public sector is withdrawing to some extent. The fund is important and it has been successful. My Department is investing heavily in infrastructure, but I will look into the specific matter to which the hon. Gentleman refers. The Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning), will reply to the hon. Gentleman.

Does the Minister agree that local government, too, has a responsibility to promote transport projects, particularly those that will help to promote economic growth?

I entirely agree. We inherited a substantial pipeline of schemes from the previous Government. I am happy to say that as a consequence of this Government’s decision to invest in transport infrastructure and recognise the value of that to employment, we have given substantial sums of money to local government to progress a large number of major local schemes.