Regional Transport Infrastructure — [Joan Ryan in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:17 pm on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington 3:17 pm, 5th March 2019

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak, Ms Ryan, and I congratulate my hon. Friend Dan Jarvis on securing this important debate.

The figures are plain to see, and I am afraid I cannot agree with Andrew Griffiths. I am sure the level of investment in the year ’50 was wonderful; it certainly is not in the year ’19. My issue for the Minister is fairness. We have seen tables produced by the Library detailing the inequalities in investment between London and the south-east and the northern regions, particularly the north-east. It is clear that there is a question of fairness.

I know figures are manipulated. Yesterday, I attended a debate on school funding and there were arguments about whether funding for schools has increased and, depending on which baseline is used, whether local government funding has increased, but I want to talk about the actual experience of my constituents. We have very old Pacer trains, overcrowding and a lack of resilience on the A19, which is the main arterial route that serves my constituency. It is a potential engine of growth that is so important to the future prosperity of the region. There are accidents on a weekly basis—on a daily basis, when the weather is inclement—and that causes massive disruption. We really need the Government to look carefully at where money is spent. They have a moral and political obligation to tackle the inequalities in investment with regard to the older industrial areas—mine is a former coalmining area—that are being left behind, and they have an opportunity to address that inequality.