Transport for Towns

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:18 pm on 19th February 2019.

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Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Assistant Whip (HM Treasury) 5:18 pm, 19th February 2019

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Austin.

I congratulate Caroline Flint on securing the debate. There has been a wide-ranging discussion this afternoon. I am pleased to note that this debate was not just about a particular journey from A to B but about how transport can regenerate our communities and bind them together. This afternoon, we have all discussed the fact that transport is essential for opportunity, growth and the wellbeing of the whole nation, including the towns that represent the living souls of the UK.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport has set local transport as a key priority for the Department for Transport, recognising its vital role in achieving a prosperous and well balanced society. However, as has been noted this afternoon, most people say, if they are asked, that they just want their transport system to be local, convenient, clean, reliable and safe. They want to have less congested roads and better air quality. My Department is delivering on those expectations, but of course there is always more to do, and transport is a key driver for social and economic change.

I was pleased to note that the right hon. Lady spoke about technology. The 21st century is seeing rapid shifts in mobility, with the adoption of broader and more sustainable approaches. Social and economic trends are also changing people’s behaviour and attitudes. The digital revolution, the growing awareness about smart places, and the greater emphasis on sustainability and environmentally friendly ways to travel create new transport challenges and opportunities.

I would be pleased to respond to the right hon. Lady on the transport in towns conversation and the rebuilding Britain fund, but most hon. Members raised the issue of buses, so I will discuss them first. As I come fresh from the Select Committee on Transport session last week on buses, I hope that hon. Members will note that I am a particular advocate for them.

The right hon. Lady mentioned a quote from Bristol, is that correct?