Regional Transport Infrastructure — [Joan Ryan in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:55 pm on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Kevin Hollinrake Kevin Hollinrake Conservative, Thirsk and Malton 2:55 pm, 5th March 2019

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Ryan, and to follow Dan Jarvis. I thank him for securing the debate. I will touch briefly on devolution, which has proven to be the most intractable political situation in Yorkshire—much more so than Brexit—over the past five or 10 years. However, I am sure that there is a way forward, and I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is crucial that we find it, so that we can properly exert our influence over central Government on hugely important matters, such as transport investment in our counties.

As the Chancellor admitted in his Budget speech in November 2016, no other major developed country has as large a productivity gap between its capital and its second and third cities as the UK. We are the most regionally imbalanced nation, which is a huge issue that we must deal with. London is 50% more productive than the regions of England—not only the north—and has 50% higher wages, on average, than the north. There is a direct correlation there. This is not about spending for spending’s sake; it is about the prosperity of the people we represent. There is no doubt that infrastructure spending has been disproportionately higher in the capital than in the regions, and redressing that imbalance will transform the economy right across the UK.