Rail Services (Erewash)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 12:39 pm on 7th December 2010.

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Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Minister of State, Department for Transport 12:39 pm, 7th December 2010

I am grateful. In these difficult times, there will be issues to resolve about whether funding can be secured, but this is a worthwhile project, and I and my officials at the Department of Transport are happy to continue to work with the hon. Lady and Derbyshire council to see if there is a way forward. The crisis in the public finances puts significant constraints on the funding available but, as I said earlier, the Chancellor has clearly accepted that transport infrastructure projects can often yield high value for money for taxpayers. They can provide economic benefits many times their cost. That is why rail has emerged from the spending review in a far stronger position than most people expected, albeit with some necessary tough decisions on fares. We have broken the recurrent pattern of spending squeezes of years past, which was to take the axe to a wide range of capital infrastructure projects, with rail and roads often the first to suffer.

While proposals for a new station at Ilkeston need to be taken forward locally-rather than through the national rail budget-a number of funding streams might be a source of support, as we have been able to consider this afternoon. Along with my hon. Friends the Members for Erewash and for Sherwood, and others who have taken part today, I feel that this is a worthwhile project. My officials at the Department for Transport remain happy to work with the county council to see if a way can be found to take it forward. I would like to thank my hon. Friend the Member for Erewash for giving the House the opportunity to consider this important issue for her constituents and others in the area.