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Infrastructure

Part of Opposition Day — [17th( )Allotted Day] — Horsemeat – in the House of Commons at 4:16 pm on 12th February 2013.

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Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 4:16 pm, 12th February 2013

I know that that is something that my hon. Friend has worked on carefully and is discussing with Ministers and shadow Ministers. It is worth looking at such a scheme.

The Government’s national infrastructure plan is well worth reading. [Interruption.] Given that even the Deputy Prime Minister says that the Government have got it wrong on infrastructure investment, one would think that the Minister of State, Home Department, Mr Browne, might listen to the debate, rather than just chuntering from a sedentary position. The national infrastructure plan exemplifies the vacuum of leadership from this Government, with more projects being kicked into the long grass. Let us take the A14, which was described by the former Transport Secretary as “a crucial strategic route” and

“a lifeline to international markets.”

Now the Treasury says that construction might just begin in 2018. The Mersey gateway, which has been highlighted as one of the world’s most important infrastructure projects, has still not had a preferred bidder announced. Today we found out that 45 winning bids for the regional growth fund—the Deputy Prime Minister’s pride and joy—have already walked away from the process, which is taking so long, with millions of pounds of public money gathering dust in Whitehall. Delay, delay, delay.

That inaction is costing jobs. The construction sector has lost 129,000 jobs since this Tory-led Government came to power. What a waste. No wonder that John Cridland, director general of the CBI, is asking the Government where the diggers on the ground are.