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Part of Backbench Business — Private Members’ Bills – in the House of Commons at 8:14 pm on 2nd September 2013.

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Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman Conservative, Hexham 8:14 pm, 2nd September 2013

Who knew, ladies and gentlemen, that this debate was sponsored by the Dutch tourism board? Many of us seem to have taken a Dutch cycling holiday. I am here to stand up for cycling in Northumberland, which features everything from Hadrian’s cycleway and the coast-to-coast tour to the delights of Kielder and the castles cycle route.

I congratulate wholeheartedly the cross-party group, which has done a fantastic job—this is probably one of the finest Back-Bench debates that we have ever had.

My hon. Friend Dr Huppert, Ian Austin, my hon. Friend Dr Wollaston and other members of the all-party parliamentary group have done a brilliant job and produced a fantastic report. I need to declare the fact that I cycle to work in London. I can cycle from Fulham, where I live, to King’s Cross, pretty much all on a cycleway. It is much quicker than going by car. In Northumberland, I live near Stamfordham, where we see more bicycles than cars travelling around and about. There is no question but that the Northumberland economy depends to a large degree on cycling tourism and the economic benefit that it brings. I therefore support the motion wholeheartedly, but while cities such as Newcastle have benefited from over £5 million, the benefit to some rural areas, whether Northumberland or other counties, is significantly less. We need equality of funding across all parts of the country so that we may all benefit, rather than simply the towns that have been allocated money thus far.