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Point of Order

Volume 704: debated on Tuesday 23 November 2021

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. On 18 November, the same day as the statement was made in this House on the integrated rail plan, Transport for the North was written to by the Department for Transport setting out changes in relation to its future operation. In essence, the already limited powers of TfN are to be further reduced and its budget cut again. This comes after TfN’s recommendations on the integrated rail plan were largely rejected, with the scaling back of previously promised investment plans for northern England’s rail network.

As you know, Mr Speaker, rail infrastructure investment is a central part of the levelling-up agenda, which in turn is meant to be a central part the Government’s strategy to increase overall UK economic growth. These changes to TfN represent a significant policy development, with consequences for the levelling-up agenda, and as such they should be discussed in this House. With no Transport questions scheduled until 16 December, Mr Speaker, have you been told whether Ministers intend to make a statement in this House on TfN’s future? If not, could you advise on how we might best summon Ministers to the House to answer questions on this matter?

First, I am grateful to the right hon. Member for giving me notice of her point of order. The short answer is that I have not had any notice from the Government that they wish to make a statement on the important subject that she has raised. She might wish to speak to the Clerks in the Table Office about other ways to pursue this subject. She has also put her point on the record and those on the Treasury Bench will have heard it; and there are always other ways, such as an urgent question.