The Government are committed to delivering value for money, including from the additional £100 billion of investment in infrastructure that we have recently announced. That means that spending will not just be narrowly focused on where it brings the highest immediate economic return; it will also be focused on where it may unlock productive potential in the future.
In London, under the stewardship of Transport for London and the Mayor of London, Crossrail is £2.5 billion over budget and two and a half years behind schedule. Will my right hon. Friend ensure that those mistakes are not made elsewhere in the country?
I know that this is a frustration for my hon. Friend’s constituents. The Infrastructure and Projects Authority has worked with the Department for Transport and across Government to identify and implement the key lessons to be learned from such major projects, and the IPA provides challenge that is fair and accurate, through an independent assurance review of major Government projects.
Will my right hon. Friend assure me of the Government’s commitment to vital rail infrastructure funding for Dorset and the surrounding counties, given that we have a three-hourly rail frequency in our county and it takes us almost three hours to get to London?
I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his election and, as the whole House is aware, for going above and beyond the call of duty in ensuring that his constituents could use train services during the recent strikes. As I say, we are investing an additional £100 billion in infrastructure, and we are seeking to ensure that we prioritise the right projects, taking a whole-network and whole-life-value approach. His representations have been well made, and they are being listened to.
Now that HS2 has been approved, how will my right hon. Friend ensure, if necessary working with Ministers from other Departments, that costs are firmly controlled, so that all taxpayers nationwide, including in my constituency, through which this line unfortunately runs, can be confident that they have received value for money?
My hon. Friend makes a very valid point. Obviously, the DFT is leading on the delivery of HS2. The IPA will continue to work with the DFT to support the delivery of this initiative, through expert advice and challenge in independent assurance reviews. The recent review of and recommendations on HS2 are very focused on ensuring that costs are controlled and that there will be no further delays.