HC Deb 13 July 1988 vol 137 cc351-2
10. Mr. Dickens

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what discussions he has held concerning transport in relation to inner city policy; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins

Inner city transport is, of course, a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, but transport issues are raised from time to time in discussions I have with inner city business men.

Mr. Dickens

Will my hon. Friend concede that the infrastructure of the north-west is second to none in the United Kingdom and that, coupled with many other excellent qualities, that wonderful infrastructure is attracting inward investment to the north-west and to towns such as Oldham and Rochdale? Will he also concede that many companies—not only international companies, but many from the expensive south—are coming to the north-west, an area which historically has always produced the lion's share of the wealth of the United Kingdom?

Mr. Atkins

My hon. Friend makes his case perhaps better than I could. As a fellow north-west Member of Parliament, I can only agree exactly with what he has said. We have a superb infrastructure and there is every reason why not only the transport successes of the north-west but its many other successes will continue to attract many people to the north-west, which, as he rightly says, is the jewel in the crown of manufacturing in this country.

Mr. Morley

Does the Minister accept that transport of any kind is important for industrial development, and that in that sense the A1 and M1 can no longer cope with the desired capacity of traffic and there is a need to extend the M11 up to the north-east, across the Humber bridge? Does he also accept that it would help the development of the region to abolish estuary tolls in general, and those on the Humber bridge in particular?

Mr. Atkins

The matters that the hon. Gentleman raises are largely for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport. We are in constant touch with our colleagues in that Department to make them aware of the necessity for industry and commerce to use the roads to a greater extent. Obviously, the Department will have to examine the pressures on those roads in the normal course of events.

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