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Infrastructure: East Midlands

Volume 646: debated on Tuesday 11 September 2018

Over the course of this Parliament, long-term investment in our infrastructure will reach levels not sustained since the 1970s. In the east midlands, for example, we are investing from the national productivity investment fund to reduce congestion. We are investing £125 million this year on local road maintenance, and we announced this summer £780 million for a series of works to upgrade the east coast main line.

As my near neighbour in Nottinghamshire, the Minister will be aware of the Robin Hood line that runs through my constituency from Nottingham. Proposals to extend the line across Warsop in the north of my constituency have now appeared in various Budgets. The Transport Secretary has ensured that the new franchisee will have to consider the business case for that extension. Can the Minister confirm that the Treasury will support it financially if that business case comes forward?

My hon. Friend and my hon. Friend the Member for Sherwood (Mark Spencer) have been campaigning on this for several years, and we recognise its potential to unlock economic opportunities in Mansfield and Ollerton. Within the east midlands franchise, we have included a requirement that the operator should come to the Secretary of State for Transport within a year with a business case for extending passenger services to my hon. Friend’s communities. The Department for Transport and the Treasury will consider that business case very carefully.

Does the Minister accept that crucial investment from the European Investment Bank and the European regional development fund recently underpinned the midlands engine investment fund and that a hard Brexit risks pulling the rug from underneath many critical investment projects? He knows in his heart that a “cake and eat it” Brexit is a pure delusion and that his European Research Group colleagues still cannot explain how it would work. Would it not be better if we just let the public sort this out and have a say with a people’s vote?

The public have already had a say, and in the east midlands, which we are discussing, the public were very clear that they want to leave the European Union. Infrastructure investment will be substantially higher over the course of this Parliament than it was under the last Labour Government—25% higher in the east midlands and 40% higher in Yorkshire and the Humber. The primary reason for that is this Government’s responsible management of the public finances.

Will my hon. Friend take the time to point out where some of this infrastructure spend is going? At the moment, Derby station is being remodelled—£200 million —and the M1 is being upgraded to a smart motorway. This is massive investment for the long-term future of the east midlands.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. Of course he was the Secretary of State for Transport who led many of these important investments. In the east midlands, we are investing in the smart motorway, in the upgrade to the east coast main line, in Derby bus station and in new green buses in Nottingham. The list continues, and only because of this Government’s management of the public finances, which is keeping the economy growing.

No, no, no. Bishop Auckland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar are both admirable places, but last time I looked neither was situated in the east midlands, to which this question is devoted.