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Part of High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee 5:45 pm, 15th July 2019

My hon. Friend is exactly right. Certainly, for bus services, which are crucial for our towns, the loss of revenue has been particularly crucial and devastating. This debate is about towns getting their fair share of both revenue and capital investment. Currently, I do not think we are getting either.

The campaign to power up the north led by some of our regional newspapers is immensely important, and I strongly back it, but I also think that it is time to power up our towns, as they have immense potential and are not getting their fair share of investment. Time and again, whether through HS2 or Crossrail 2, too much money—the big billions—is still going into the cities rather than the towns. That is why I support this review, but ask for it to be broadened.

I urge the Minister to broaden it as well, because the truth is that Members from our towns have been respectful, we have asked sensible questions, we have been patient, and we have waited and waited and, frankly, we have got nothing. We see no sign of anything improving for our transport infrastructure. We see no sign of anything other than warm words about promises in the future. We need that review of the geographic benefits and we need a proper towns plan—a proper plan for major infrastructure investment. Until we have that, the Government’s transport infrastructure plan is simply not in the national interest.