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I draw attention at the outset to my interests as declared in the register.
This has been a curious debate to date. Infrastructure is, at least in theory, a subject on which there is a large measure of cross-party support. There is general agreement across the House that we need to ensure that we have the transport networks, power arrangements, waste and water distribution systems, sewerage systems, flood protection systems and all the other necessary infrastructure that is essential to a modern, functioning economy. Really, we should have been debating how to make a reality of the current investment programmes to deliver the kind of infrastructure that is essential to our economic well-being in the longer term and, in the short term, that will help to create jobs, employment and growth in our stuttering economy.
However, we did not do that. Instead, we have seen a series of differences—not just across the House, between the Minister and my hon. Friend Rachel Reeves on our Front Bench, but between the Minister and his Back-Bench colleague, Mrs Main, who took a very different view from him. Rather than echoing his stated wish that infrastructure investment should be speeded up, she made a fairly passionate case for slowing it down.