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UK Infrastructure

Volume 717: debated on Tuesday 28 June 2022

We are driving economic growth through investment in infrastructure, innovation and skills. The Budget and spending review confirmed £100 billion of public investment in economic infrastructure to benefit every part of the UK. We are launching a UK infrastructure bank with a financial capacity of £22 billion to crowd in private finance to support more than £40 billion of investment in infrastructure over the next five years.

It is clear that when done right, the Government’s levelling-up programme can make a real difference to people’s lives. Does my hon. Friend share my enthusiasm for the proposed Atherton, Leigh and Tyldesley cycling upgrades that will connect local people to job opportunities right across the area, especially because there is such local support for it and it is not an anti-car programme?

Yes, I do share my hon. Friend’s enthusiasm for helping his constituents to access jobs and for cycling as a way of getting to and from work. At the spending review we announced £710 million of new funding for schemes like the one he described, but Bolton is also receiving £30 million through the towns fund and the shared prosperity fund, and work on the electrification of the Wigan-Bolton line has begun, supporting economic growth for his constituency and the wide area.

In the integrated rail plan announced just six months ago, the Government promised to invest in the east coast main line—a vital route connecting London, Newcastle and Scotland and bringing high-skill, high-wage jobs to our area. However, Ministers are already backtracking on some of these investment promises in other parts of the country, so will the Government make a firm commitment today to fund the delivery of east coast upgrades to provide much-needed confidence and resilience in our line?

As the hon. Lady points out, with our investment in infrastructure—particularly rail, in the £96 billion integrated rail plan for the midlands and the north—we are showing how the Government are supporting the growth of the economy, including through providing the transport infrastructure that we need for that.

Labour welcomes the principle of a UK infrastructure bank moving to a statutory footing, but it is crucial to make sure that public money supports decent jobs that people can raise a family on. Will the Minister therefore support our proposals for all projects funded by the infrastructure bank to come with a good jobs plan and for working people to be given a voice on its board?

We have many measures in place to support people’s jobs. We know about the figures for record levels of payroll employment and also the increase in the national living wage earlier this year. I am glad to hear the hon. Gentleman’s support for the UK infrastructure bank that we are currently legislating for, which is a really important part of our determination to drive regional and local growth across the UK.