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Local Infrastructure (East Midlands)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:12 am on 20th March 2018.

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Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin Conservative, Derbyshire Dales 10:12 am, 20th March 2018

I congratulate my hon. Friend Lee Rowley on securing the debate, moving the motion effectively and setting out clearly not just the problems facing his constituency but the solutions. Since he has been in this House, he has shown a positive way of working and of advocating for his constituency, which abuts mine.

I must admit that I do not quite recognise what Toby Perkins said about infrastructure spending. Infrastructure spending overall in the east midlands—in the whole country—has been very positive and very large indeed. At the moment, massive work is going on at Derby station. There is a £200 million investment, and a new platform and new signalling are being put in. That is real investment for the future of the east midlands. Likewise, there has been a lot of investment in Nottingham station. When I was Secretary of State for Transport, I closed the station for six weeks one summer and saw men working all hours to complete the job in that time. A fantastic job was done.

I want to talk about two other large infrastructure projects. One is the upgrading of the A38 around Derby, which is due to start in 2019. That will be another £250 million, to deal with the three islands around Derby, and it will significantly improve the infrastructure as far as the city is concerned. Secondly, I was pleased to be in Nottingham at the final opening of the dualling of the A453—long awaited but delivered by this Government —and the improvements to junction 24 of the M1. Those are big infrastructure projects that we have seen in the east midlands and I think they will make a big difference. There is no doubt that the upgrading of the M1 to a smart motorway, at the moment between junctions 23 and 25—it has already been done between junctions 25 and 28—causes a lot of disruption, but the long-term benefit is important, including for the region. So we can say that we have had a good share of the infrastructure investment made by the Government.