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Infrastructure Investment

Volume 591: debated on Wednesday 21 January 2015

3. What assessment he has made of trends in the level of infrastructure investment in Wales since 2010. (907060)

We have been ambitious in our infrastructure investment plans to address the historic underinvestment in Wales by previous Governments. We are enabling businesses in Wales to expand and explore new markets by investing in better train links, less-congested roads and faster broadband speeds.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Given the commitment to fund the northern hub in full and the ambition for HS3 to improve connectivity right across the north of England, what is his Department doing to ensure that north Wales can take full advantage of those welcome developments?

My hon. Friend is right to highlight the significant infrastructure investment being made across the whole of the UK, but of course it is important that north Wales links into the rest of the UK. The fact that Crewe is the HS2 hub is important, and I look forward to hosting a transport summit in the next week or so to discuss how we best link north Wales with the rest of the UK.

13. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on investment in rail in north Wales. Will the Minister confirm that the UK Government have diverted funding previously allocated for the phase 1 and phase 2 modular rail signalling upgrade in north Wales to support investment in rail projects in south Wales? (907070)

I can categorically reject that. The UK Government are making significant investment in north Wales, at the Halton curve, and in south Wales, in the electrification of the main line right through to Swansea and in the valley lines and Vale of Glamorgan line services. I am proud of our record of electrifying railways in Wales. The previous Administration left us as one of the three nations across Europe without any electrified rail; Wales, sadly, was left with Albania and Moldova, and this Government are changing that.

Will the Minister congratulate the Welsh Government on providing funding for infrastructure investment in Rhyl? They have provided £28 million for new housing in Rhyl; £22 million for a new community hospital; £10 million for a new harbour; £25 million for a new Rhyl high school; and £12 million for flood defences. Will he also condemn the coalition Government, who have closed down Rhyl county court, Rhyl Army recruitment centre and Rhyl tax office, with the Crown post office possibly being relocated out of Rhyl?

The hon. Gentleman is somewhat selective in the data he shares. I am proud of the infrastructure investment record of this Government; he failed to mention the north Wales prison and the Halton curve, as well as the investment across the whole of Wales, not only in the north.

In recent months, I have been working with the communities of Salem, Cwmdu, Talley and Pumsaint, which have been without landline provision while waiting for damaged lines to be repaired. Communication problems have been exacerbated by a lack of mobile coverage, so will the Minister ensure that mobile not spots in Carmarthenshire benefit from the recently announced investment in mobile infrastructure?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising that important issue. Openreach and British Telecom need to get on top of replacing those lines when they fall because of adverse weather. Let me also congratulate the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the innovation he is showing in trying to close those not spots by using both private money and the mobile infrastructure plan, which will make a major difference in these areas.