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Cycling

Part of Backbench Business — Private Members’ Bills – in the House of Commons at 7:10 pm on 2nd September 2013.

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Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Labour, Exeter 7:10 pm, 2nd September 2013

Yes, and the hon. Gentleman might even be that person in the future. He is absolutely right. During the hearings, I told the inquiry that when I was a Minister, the only time we really got pedalling on this issue, to excuse the pun, was when the Secretaries of State in the Department of Health, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Home Office and the Department for Transport—all the important Departments —were committed to it and were working together to make things happen. Otherwise, nothing would happen.

That leads me to my final point. Time and again, when our Committee was taking evidence on cycling, our witnesses came back to the importance of long-term, sustained investment and joined-up political leadership. We need more than a Prime Minister who cycles to work for a photo opportunity while his limo drives behind him with his papers. We need a Prime Minister, and the whole Government from him down, who will make it clear that cycling is a priority across Government. It is cheap, and it will save lives, improve health and boost productivity. It will also reduce congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions. This is a no-brainer, and the infinitesimal cost of doing it would be more than recouped in the form of a happier, healthier, safer, greener, cleaner, thinner and more productive nation in a very short time indeed.