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The hon. Gentleman knows that the decisions taken by local authorities are about priorities. I was giving an example from Dudley borough of a specific decision about priorities for local funding which will be greatly detrimental to local residents.
I welcome this Government’s commitment to effective and efficient investment in vital infrastructure at a time when finances are constrained by the need to tackle the record deficits built up by their predecessors. Using Government guarantees to leverage private investment is a prudent use of public funds, whereas overuse of PFI has left taxpayers paying over the odds for capital schemes, as has been described in this debate.
The Chancellor’s announcement of the new PF2 scheme in the autumn statement was badly needed. We must restore people’s confidence that public money allocated for infrastructure is being spent on roads, schools and hospitals, rather than on swelling contractors’ profits. My constituents were particularly pleased that the proposed new Midland Metropolitan hospital in Sandwell was cited as the first candidate for the new scheme in the NHS. The local hospitals trust has been working hard with the Department of Health and the Treasury to ensure that those plans progress. I hope that my constituents can look forward to further good news shortly. Such investment would not only undoubtedly stimulate local economic activity in the short term, but provide a valuable new facility, providing better services more efficiently for years to come.
I believe that the Government are taking the necessary and tough decisions to invest for the long term in Britain’s infrastructure in order to make up the gap and the deficit left by the previous Government.