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Infrastructure

Part of Opposition Day — [17th( )Allotted Day] — Horsemeat – in the House of Commons at 5:26 pm on 12th February 2013.

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Photo of Andy Sawford Andy Sawford Labour, Corby 5:26 pm, 12th February 2013

I absolutely agree. The planned rebuilding of Lodge Park school in my constituency under Building Schools for the Future was cancelled—one of the Government’s first acts. The Secretary of State for Education later apologised for his bungling and mishandling of that, but his apology means nothing to the young people whose education is suffering, or to the construction workers who otherwise would have had employment in my town. It is all part of the story of the past two years. This Government’s policies took Britain back into recession—one of only two G20 countries to go back into recession. The very people who counselled that Britain needed a plan to reduce its deficit over time—the previous Government set out a reasonable, sensible plan—are now telling the Government that they got it wrong and reduced the deficit too quickly, and that the plan has been hugely damaging to our economy. The Government’s economic arguments present a false divide between the public and private sectors. The public sector and the private sector are intimately interconnected in my constituency, as in any other. The Government create a false divide between the role of Government and Government spending and prospects for growth.

Corby and east Northamptonshire has a new railway station and new schools, and the new Tresham college building is a fantastic facility for young people. That investment helps companies such as AGI Amaray, which makes all the DVD boxes we have in our homes. It helps companies such as Tata Steel to recruit people with the skills they need. It helps innovative new start-ups such as KwikScreen—some people from that company were in Parliament yesterday and I visited them a few weeks ago—which is now selling all over the world. It helps them because we are investing in the young people they need to compete in the world. The Corby east midlands international swimming pool is an incredible investment of which the whole country can proud. The Leader of the Opposition went there with me to meet visiting international swimmers and to wonder at the facility. It is impressive to people looking to invest in the town and provides a wide range of facilities for local people, including ways of keeping them healthy, and we need a healthy population for the work force of the future.

All the good that Labour did for Corby contrasts with what is happening now. It is reasonable to contrast Government records, and important to do so when looking ahead. The slow-down in the market has had huge consequences for my community. We have one of the fastest growing populations in the country—it is set to double in the next 20 years. Little Stanion is a new development that, because the bottom dropped out of the housing market and the construction sector, has not yet reached the trigger point for the infrastructure it needs. I have talked to local people. They do not have the parks, play areas, public transport provision or the investment in schools and other facilities that they need. We need to get the economy growing. That is why, in my by-election, many people came out to vote for me on a cold, dark November evening. They voted because I made a pledge to support a jobs guarantee for young people, funded by a one-year national insurance tax break for small firms—I do not why the Government will not listen to that idea.

My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds West is absolutely right to press the Government for action to get young people back to work. There are specific projects in east Northamptonshire and Corby, such as the Chowns Mill roundabout, investment in the A45, the Rockingham northern orbital route, getting the Geddington road reopened again and broadband. The previous Government promised 2 megabit broadband for every household in my constituency by 2012, but those plans were cancelled. We are now hoping that that might happen by 2015, but it is all part of a picture for my constituents of jam tomorrow—the investment was removed just when it was most needed. The Government really should listen.