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North Wales-England Transport Links

Volume 624: debated on Thursday 30 March 2017

The Government are investing in major signalling renewals on the north Wales line to improve reliability and, after years of waiting, in the Halton curve. This will improve rail connectivity between north Wales, west Cheshire and the Liverpool city region, including Liverpool John Lennon airport. Our recently announced national productivity investment fund will also support local authority investment on the A483 corridor between Chester and Wrexham.

I am grateful for that answer, and the Minister knows that I support all of those initiatives, but will he consider the letter sent to him by Conservative and Labour Members of Parliament on behalf of the Mersey Dee Alliance and Cheshire East council asking him to look at the developments of High Speed 2 and the hub at Crewe? Building on that progress will help connectivity on behalf of all of us in the region.

I know all about the letter, and indeed had a meeting to discuss the issue yesterday. I am seized of the necessity to make sure that north Wales does not miss out in the investment that we are putting into our rail network. We will bring forward our thoughts in due course, but I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that this is very much top of mind in the Department.

Mid Wales has difficulty with transport links to both north and south Wales, and indeed to England—although I can assure everyone that it is worth the difficulty of the journey in getting to mid Wales. What more can my right hon. Friend do to ensure that road links to mid Wales are improved?

We will do our bit on the English side of the border—we are spending more money than ever on the road network in England—but I fear that it is to Cardiff that my hon. Friend will have to look for the improvements that will provide that final link into his constituency. His is, of course, a beautiful part of the country, and all of us would want to be able to visit it.

The Secretary of State rightly mentioned the Halton curve, for which I have campaigned for many years. It opens up all sorts of possibilities, not least in respect of our connectivity with north Wales. Will he look at the importance of reopening Ditton station in Halton and, when the new city region mayor is elected, talk to them about how that can be brought about much more quickly?

I had a meeting yesterday with the man who I hope will be the next city region mayor, the Conservative candidate Tony Caldeira, and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that he has ambitious plans to improve the transport infrastructure in and around the Merseyside region.