Transport Infrastructure: Devon and Somerset

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall am 4:16 pm ar 23 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 4:16, 23 Ebrill 2024

I have answered such questions repeatedly since the debate on 19 December and at other times. Simply put, the situation is this: if one has a business or statutory undertaking, and one increases the budget to address a problem by over 30%, there is no other part of the Government infrastructure that has been increased in that way. There is no local authority in the country that has had the benefit of that in other parts of its portfolio. The reality is that the transport budget for highways maintenance has been dramatically addressed. No one is diminishing the impact of what has happened in the past and the day-to-day vicissitudes that people have to face, whether those are on the Somerset levels or the Slapton line, which I debated in the House barely a month ago. There are clearly instances where those things need to be addressed, and frankly the Prime Minister has taken a very bold decision to address the problem specifically, which is massively to his credit.

Obviously, that is on top of record amounts of bus funding. There has been a significant increase in bus funding, such as the £2 bus fare, the bus service improvement plans money and the active travel budget, which has seen considerable enhancements to Devon of over £6 million and to Somerset of over £3 million since 2020. There is massively increased support for all forms of cycling and walking. Also, the rail station infrastructure has increased, whether that is in Cullompton—which the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Transport have visited—or elsewhere. A huge amount of investment is going on.