I think that I am being invited to write a manifesto at the Dispatch Box. I am quite happy to do so, Mr Deputy Speaker, if you could just give me a few minutes. My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight the gross imbalance in spending in this country. In the north-east of England, we spend £229 per head of the population on transport, compared with £1,900 per head in London, so there is an imbalance. Undoubtedly, that must be corrected if we are to rebalance our economy in the UK.
It is interesting that this denial of opportunities to start up a new municipal company flies in the face of some of the more successful companies in the country. Why on earth would people not want to have a look at that as an option? There is no suggestion for a single second that there will be a mad rush of local authorities wanting to do this. They will want to weigh up and do what is best for their localities. Why on earth a Conservative Government would want to deprive them of making that choice is beyond me—or perhaps it is not.