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National Infrastructure Plan

Volume 543: debated on Tuesday 24 April 2012

We published an update on the national infrastructure plan alongside the Budget, showing the progress that has been made on all the priority investments. As an example, the Budget was able to confirm that the pensions infrastructure platform that we have established to enable British pension funds to invest in infrastructure in this country will be able to make its first wave of £2 billion investment by early 2013.

I very much welcome the plan and congratulate the Government on prioritising rail investment, such as the east-west line through my constituency. May I urge my right hon. Friend to continue that investment in the classic network, as well as finding the funds for High Speed 2?

My hon. Friend makes an important point. The investment in High Speed 2 will not affect the amount of investment in the traditional rail network. It will allow us to go forward—for example, with the investment in the Oxford to Bedford rail line, which I know will affect his constituency, create 12,000 jobs and give a boost of £38 million to that area’s economy.

Does the Minister realise that those of us who represent the squeezed middle in this country—the northern and midland regions—are sick to death of seeing London and the south-east getting all the infrastructure investment, all the cranes, while we are waiting patiently for investment in our part of the world, where we have been in recession for three years?

In that case, the hon. Gentleman ought also to welcome the substantial investment, for example, in the northern hub rail project. He ought to welcome the substantial investment in the electrification of the trans-Pennine railway. He ought to welcome the substantial investment in the capital infrastructure around ports to enable the north and the north-east of England to benefit, particularly from the investment in renewables that we will see over the coming years. A fair picture would represent those things too.