I could not agree more with my hon. Friend. The Government need to be honest about their intentions. It would be a gross unfairness if they put Crossrail 2 ahead of HS3 or northern powerhouse rail, or even HS2, in the legislative or Treasury queue. I cannot see how that could possibly be allowed to happen. If they commit now to HS3, the investment potential that would be unlocked immediately would be enormous. I hope the Government listen carefully to that argument—I see the Minister nod. I am speaking not only for businesses in Greater Manchester, but for businesses across the north of England, which see the poor quality of transport as the biggest threat to our future economic prosperity.
If elected in two months’ time, I intend to use the powers provided by the Bill to bring fares down in Greater Manchester, particularly for young people, as I have said. I intend to use the powers in the Bill to improve the quality and coverage of services, and to ensure that those isolated areas and more deprived parts of Greater Manchester have a reliable and regular service. I want to improve the travelling environment for all the public, but particularly for disabled people and visually impaired people. I want to do all of those things.
For the last 30 years, the public in Greater Manchester have had to put up with buses run in the private interest rather than the public interest. It is time to take our buses back and put people before profits.