§ Mr. Callaghan
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the future of light rail funding(a) nationally and (b) in the Greater Manchester area. 
§ Mr. Norris
Bids for light rail schemes are submitted to my Department during the annual transport policies and programme round. I am prepared to consider supporting light rail schemes, including extensions to the Greater Manchester metrolink, provided it can be demonstrated that light rail is the most cost-effective solution to a particular urban transport problem. Schemes must attract significant private sector and local investment and be put forward as part of a package bid, incorporating a coherent transport strategy to achieve modal shift from the private car. However, light rail is expensive and not the only solution to urban transport problems. The difficulties and costs associated with developing schemes should not be underestimated.