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Part of Backbench Business — Private Members’ Bills – in the House of Commons at 6:18 pm on 2nd September 2013.

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Photo of Ian Austin Ian Austin Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 6:18 pm, 2nd September 2013

Okay. I also want to ask the Minister why the Government have not agreed to the appointment of a cycling champion.

Unfortunately, my right hon. Friend Mr Smith cannot be here because two members of his family have health issues. He wanted to call for a more comprehensive cycling strategy. He welcomes the £835,000 grant to improve the cycling safety of the Plain in Oxford, but wanted to point out that that is a tiny fraction of the money that is needed to bring Oxford’s cycle network up to an entirely safe standard.

We think that more of the transport budget should be spent on supporting cycling, with an initial rate of at least £10 per person per year. That would increase as the level of cycling goes up. I welcome the recent announcement by the shadow Secretary of State for Transport that she would use a proportion of road spending to build long-term cycling infrastructure. Most of the spending that was mentioned in the Government’s response had already been announced. Why will the Minister’s Department not shift resources in that way?

London has spent five times as much on cycling per person as the rest of the UK in the past 10 years. The benefits of that are clear from the huge growth in cycling in the capital.