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Garden Bridge

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:56 pm on 7th September 2016.

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Photo of Chris Matheson Chris Matheson Labour, City of Chester 6:56 pm, 7th September 2016

In my very brief contribution, let me start by paying warm tribute to my hon. Friend Kate Hoey. It says a lot about her and her priorities that when she is offered what is apparently a prestigious large-scale project in her constituency, she instead considers its effect on ordinary people in her community, and her mind is made up partly because of that. I also pay tribute to her for the forensic way she has tried to get through the murk of the financing of this project. She has obviously made some progress, but some murk remains; there is still a lack of clarity.

My ears pricked up at the sound of the £30 million from the Government. The Transport Minister who is in his place will know that I have been campaigning for just £100,000 for a transport project on the M56 to put in police and Highways England safety cameras. Sadly, the Minister declined that expenditure. Yet at the same time we can find £30 million to pour into a black hole, which my hon. Friend tells us is a vanity project, with several big-name backers but no clear benefit to the community. Will the Minister tell the House in his response whether he thinks that £30 million spent on a vanity project garden bridge in London is better expenditure than £100,000 on motorway safety cameras in Cheshire? Is the garden bridge receiving this level of public money simply because it is in London rather than the north-west of England?