HC Deb 10 February 1992 vol 203 cc642-3
4. Mr. Cousins

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the size and scope of the 1992–93 major highway programme in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne.

The Minister for Roads and Traffic (Mr. Christopher Chope)

The size and scope of the 1992–93 major highway progamme in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne are matters for the city council.

Mr. Cousins

The Minister well knows that the package that Newcastle put up is good for jobs and good for people. Why then did he not give the money to enable the scheme that local people had worked out for Cradlewell in Newcastle to go ahead? There are would have been no dizzy walkways, no murky subways. An urban village centre would have been created next to a local beauty spot, preventing an important local historic monument—the Armstrong bridge—from falling down. Why did the Minister specifically pull out the money for that scheme from Newcastle's road programme?

Mr. Chope

Because the city of Newcastle council asked us to. Last year we substituted the Scotswood road improvement for the Cradlewell bypass scheme. That was supported by the city council. The hon. Gentleman referred to the need for jobs and prosperity in Newcastle. The best way to bring those about is to ensure first-class road communications to Newcastle. His party is proposing to put in jeopardy our upgrading of the A1 to motorway standard.

Mr. Amos

Does my hon. Friend accept that since 1979 the Government have spent and planned to spend nearly £600 million on road construction and maintenance in the north-east? The north-east has done very well out of the Government, although we need to dual the A69 west of Hexham. Does he not accept that the demands of the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central (Mr. Cousins) for more road building sit oddly with those of his Front-Bench spokesman, the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott), who would put a moratorium on all new road building?

Mr. Chope

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The Government are committed to further investment in the road infrastructure in the north-east. Indeed, we have a trans-Pennine study on links between the north-east and north-west. The outcome of that study will inform further investment decisions in the future.