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Infrastructure Investment Distribution

Volume 669: debated on Tuesday 7 January 2020

6. What steps he is taking to ensure an equitable distribution of infrastructure investment between London and the north of England. (900041)

May I congratulate the hon. Lady on being recognised in the new year’s honours list? It is a fitting tribute to her years of service, especially her campaigning work on contaminated blood; she deserves praise for that work.

Infrastructure is a top priority for the Government. We will be publishing the national infrastructure strategy alongside the Budget, and I can say now that that strategy will contain our ambition to level up across the United Kingdom, ensuring that every part of our country—not just London—has the opportunity to spread and drive growth in their communities.

I thank the Minister for his kind words.

It is good that there is consensus across the House about the need to invest, particularly in transport in the north. I note that the Chancellor agreed with those comments in the story published in The Times on 27 December. I just wondered whether this House and my constituents will really have to wait until the beginning of March to get the actual detail of what this will mean. Is it not right that this House hears first, rather than the newspapers?

I think the hon. Lady is referring to the Government’s plans to review all our frameworks, processes and mechanisms to allocate investment spending. That work is under way, and the Chancellor and other Ministers will update the House, as required, as more details emerge.

A very happy new year to you and everyone in the House, Mr Speaker.

The regional investment gap of £63 billion in transport alone is compounded by deindustrialisation. Yesterday, a senior Minister—anonymously—dismissed concerns over customs and rules of origin barriers as

“lobbying from industries that are in secular decline”,

but they are felt by all advanced manufacturers. What will the Chancellor do about his colleagues who seem to blithely accept further regional job losses in manufacturing?

I was in the Tees Valley earlier this week, and what I heard there from manufacturers was incredible support for this Government’s agenda of spreading opportunity, driving investment in regional infrastructure and sensible taxation of manufacturing companies, all of which will lead to higher growth, more jobs and better investment for their community.