The Government are committed to helping the midlands to unleash its economic potential and make it a powerful engine for growth. We are backing skills and innovation. We are supporting the automotive and aerospace industries. We have made investments, and we are putting power in the hands of local people by devolving budgets from Whitehall to a new mayor for the midlands. I hope that it is in order, Mr Speaker, for me to mention our excellent candidate, Andy Street.
Earlier this year, a Grant Thornton report suggested that the east midlands could contribute £53 billion to the UK economy by 2025, reflecting the central role that Leicestershire and the east midlands continue to play in driving the country’s growth. Does my hon. Friend agree, however, that if we are to sustain that record of success, it is vital for us to continue to deliver on investment in Leicestershire’s road, rail and broader infrastructure?
Order. May I remind colleagues of the merits of the blue pencil?
Good advice, Mr Speaker, as ever.
I thank my hon. Friend for his interest in the east midlands. I agree that improving transport between and within our major cities is vital to help them fulfil their productive potential. As the Chancellor has said, we are investing over £5 billion in transport infrastructure to put the midlands at the heart of a modern transport network.
May I press the case for the continued electrification of the midland main line and that there be no further delays to this excellent project?
Yes, he can.