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Infrastructure: Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire

Volume 636: debated on Thursday 1 March 2018

16. What estimate his Department has made of the amount that will be invested in transport infrastructure in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire between 2010 and 2020. (904119)

In the east midlands, almost £7 billion has been spent on transport since 2010, improving connectivity, shortening journey times, reducing congestion and transporting people, ideas and goods. In Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, that has included £371 million from Government for extensions to the Nottingham tram system, and £4.5 million for the new station at Ilkeston.

Indeed, the Government have a proud record on transport infrastructure. More transport infrastructure has been planned in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire over these 10 years than ever before. I welcome the proposals for the A38 and smart motorways, and for the Derby and Nottingham stations. May I suggest to my hon. Friend that we also consider smaller projects, which will make vast improvements, and may I put in a bid for the Ashbourne bypass?

My hon. Friend has been a great advocate of transport locally and is obviously an expert in the field, as a previous Minister in the Department. He is absolutely right that we are investing in the biggest upgrade of the midland main line since it was completed in 1870. It is, however, for Derbyshire County Council to assess the need for that particular project in Ashbourne, and to decide whether to work on plans to deliver it. If the council applies for appropriate Government funding, we would be pleased to consider its bid.

I know that the hon. Lady will accept that he was not merely a Minister in the Department but the Secretary of State and a right hon. Gentleman of notable industry and distinction.

The previous speaker said a lot of things about the possibility of getting extra money spent in Derbyshire. What he failed to do—this is very important—is say that when the electrification of the midland main line was put forward in this House, it was decided that it would go only as far as Kettering and Corby. Should not the question now be about the wholesale electrification of the midland main line, which would result in people in Derbyshire being better off?

I apologise to my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Sir Patrick McLoughlin) for my earlier mistake.

Perhaps not right now, but I will consider it in future. I was expecting a question on High Speed 2.

The hon. Gentleman is saving it—that is wonderful. Perhaps he will even acknowledge the great jobs that will be coming along the line. On electrification, Labour’s 2007 rail strategy stated that

“it would not be prudent to commit now to ‘all-or-nothing’ projects, such as network-wide electrification…for which the longer-term benefits are currently uncertain and which could delay tackling the current strategic priorities such as capacity.”

The Government believe that it is vital to deliver for passengers and for the taxpayer.

Between 2016 and 2021 the east midlands will receive just 3.2% of all transport investment, and that is exacerbated by the cancellation of the electrification of the Midland main line. That electrification is wanted by business and communities, and it is better value, better for the environment, and has a brilliant business case. Why are Ministers in the Department for Transport the only ones who do not understand that?

We have not yet fully announced what we will be doing on electrification, and at times some of the information shared is not entirely accurate. The Government have supported the midlands with HS2, and by investing £1.8 billion in the region’s motorways and trunk roads, and £1.7 billion in the local growth fund. We are also investing £25 million to develop and progress a transformational strategy across the midlands with Midlands Connect.

Order. The hon. Members for Plymouth, Moor View (Johnny Mercer) and for Redditch (Rachel Maclean) who missed out on substantive questions can seek to catch my eye during topical questions.