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Transport Infrastructure: Cheshire

Volume 630: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2017

9. What investment his Department has provided for transport infrastructure projects in Cheshire in the last 12 months. (901367)

I wish my right hon. Friend many happy returns of the day.

I confirm that the Government are taking big decisions for Britain’s future and investing in transport infrastructure in Cheshire and across the north. Just last week, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport announced road investment of £65 million in Cheshire. That included £18 million of funding for five different local road schemes and £47 million for the Middlewich bypass. That is on top of improvements that the Government are already making to the M6, M62 and M56.

I welcome the Minister’s reply. The Cheshire and Warrington local enterprise partnership has a bold agenda for increasing business in Tatton and Chester. The local plan has an equally bold agenda for increasing the number of houses, which will bring money to the Exchequer and help to meet the country’s housing need, but we have a significant need for the mid-Cheshire rail line. May I ask the Chancellor and his team to look at that for the forthcoming Budget?

I will take that as a Budget representation. The basic point is that we are clearly very ambitious to unlock, through transport investment, both residential and commercial opportunity. That has been a feature of Government policies over the past few years, and I am sure that it will continue to be.

In Cheshire and across the north, the reality is, as the Minister says, that infrastructure investment will unlock productive capacity. Does the Minister recognise that the disproportionate investment per head between the south-east and the rest of the country is unacceptable and must change?

The hon. Gentleman’s assessment is simply mistaken: Government investment is broadly equal across the different regions of our country. I highlight to him that the central Government investment going into the north during this spending period is £13 billion, which is a record in British history.

Order. As a very distinguished chartered surveyor, the hon. Member for The Cotswolds (Geoffrey Clifton-Brown) will know that the Cotswold is a very significant distance from the north or the north-west, but we will look forward with eager anticipation to hearing the hon. Gentleman at some later point.