Infrastructure Bill [Lords]

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 8th December 2014.

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Photo of Richard Burden Richard Burden Shadow Minister (Transport) 4:45 pm, 8th December 2014

I have a feeling that in this debate Conservative hon. Member after Conservative hon. Member will stand up and ask me about this scheme or that scheme, and will say, “Come on. Will Labour go ahead with this or not?” We are not in the business of cutting long-term investment in our roads infrastructure in the way that the present Government cut long-term investment in infrastructure. But if we are looking through individual scheme after individual scheme, we are going to scrutinise them. We are going to see if they are all they are cracked up to be.

Let me give other examples. In many cases the Government’s figures do not add up. In some announcements there is £3.5 billion-worth of investment for 20 new schemes; in other announcements, that becomes £3.4 billion. In 2013 we read that £8.5 billion had been set aside for 26 schemes; that now appears to be £6 billion. In some announcements there has been £15.1 billion for 2015 to 2021, but in answer to a parliamentary question that I asked the Minister last week, the figure was £15.2 billion, and it is still unclear whether this is entirely Government money or whether the Department for Transport is still waiting for third-party contributions to make up the total. I shall not be able to give answers on individual schemes because as far as I can tell, those individual schemes do not add up, but we will scrutinise them. We will ask the difficult questions, because those are the questions that the public expect us to ask.