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Mr. Ian Stewart (Eccles): Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Ms Ward: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Madam Speaker: Order. The right hon. Gentleman must be allowed to answer one intervention before he can take another.

Mr. Redwood: My hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) is absolutely right. One of the main reasons why this Government are in such chaos over transport is that they are robbing the motorist, but are not spending enough on transport industries. They either have to raise money from the private sector or they have to spend taxpayers' money. They cannot make up their minds, and they end up spending nothing.

Mr. Stewart: The right hon. Gentleman says that there is no investment. What does he say to constituents in Salford who have seen the Government support the introduction of the metrolink?

Mr. Redwood: One swallow does not make a summer, and there are occasional investments even from this mean Government. However, if one looks at the overall impact, it is simply too little, too late.

Ms Ward: I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. If he is so concerned about passengers on the railways, will he explain to the House why he is opposed to the introduction of the Strategic Rail Authority, which would ensure that there were tougher regulations on the rail companies and that the consumer got a better deal, with improved safety on our railways?

Mr. Redwood: We oppose more bureaucracy, and we think that the railways need some decisions from this Government, so that the railway industry can get on and invest the massive sums that are clearly needed. The hon. Lady was so busy trying to intervene that she was not listening, but I have already said that there are crucial decisions that only the Secretary of State can take. Once they are taken, billions of pounds of new investment can be brought into the railway industry. However, the franchises need to be renegotiated with the train companies and Railtrack needs a better system of revenue so that there is a fairer balance between new and old capacity, which would make a big difference to its investment plans.

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It is broken-down Government to stop people getting around. Indeed, in many cases, the Government make it much more difficult to park and ride, because in many towns and cities now one cannot drive easily into town even to park at the railway station. The Government tell us that they want an integrated transport policy. Perhaps the Deputy Prime Minister could tell us today whether we yet have one, two and a half years into a Labour Government who said that it was one of their most important policies. Or is that integrated transport policy as delayed as the tube public-private partnership? His idea of an integrated transport policy seems to be a lay-by on the A1 where he can swap Jaguars as he speeds south.

Today's news from the Rowntree Foundation that the gap between rich and poor has started growing again under this Labour Government is further proof that Labour is not working. We were promised a year of delivery. Labour told us that it would make things fairer by helping the less well-off into work. Instead, it has followed policies that have decimated jobs in northern manufacturing areas and stimulated jobs in the southern service economy. That has made its transport problems so much the worse.

The Government have become expert only at making rhetorical U-turns. Clobbering the motorist proved unpopular, so now we are told that they are the motorist's friend. Meanwhile, the Government still pile on extra taxes and make it much more difficult to drive around. If the Opposition had not stood up for the motorist, would we ever have been told that a change of language was needed? If the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph had not championed the motorist's cause, would we now be hearing warmer words about the car? Cutting all the bypasses and road improvements the Government inherited proved so unpopular that we are now promised a review. Which of the 103 bypasses and road improvement schemes that the Deputy Prime Minister scrapped will he now definitely reinstate?

Today it is time for the Deputy Prime Minister to give us some answers. He has created standstill Britain and it is time that he found ways to get us back on the move.

Several hon. Members rose--

Mr. Redwood: I shall not take any interventions for the next section of my speech. I hope that the House will listen carefully, because I am sure that the Deputy Prime Minister would like to hear my questions. The nation will regard those questions as fair, and the press and the wider public deserve answers. Let us see how we get on.

When does the Deputy Prime Minister expect to reach agreement on his latest version of the public-private partnership for the tube? How much money is he planning to make available in the meantime to improve the tube? When will investment on the tube get back up to the levels of the last few years of the Conservative Government, and why has he cut it so much? Will his private-public partnership make air-conditioning available on trains as our Londoners tube scheme would have done? Will his public-private partnership enable him to build the Chelsea-Hackney line, as our Londoners tube scheme would have done? As it is unlikely to do any of those things, why does not the Deputy Prime Minister adoptour scheme, which would deliver much-needed large increases in investment at no cost to the public accounts?

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What is the Deputy Prime Minister's estimate of the fees and charges he has incurred, and will incur, putting together his public-private partnership? Has he apologised to Railtrack for wasting £20 million of its much-needed money on preparing a bid for the tube, which he has now deliberately blocked? Does he realise that our Londoners tube scheme, which would sell shares and give free shares to all Londoners, could be allied to a bond issue by the new companies that would raise large sums for the tube? Will he rule out bond issues for his version of the public-private partnership? Would he confirm that, because he is not selling a majority of the shares in the tube, any bond issue he wanted would count as public spending and the Treasury would continue to block him from doing that?

On the railways, will the Deputy Prime Minister tell us when he intends to meet Railtrack to respond to the company's plans for incentive payments to provide more capacity? How long will it take to negotiate new franchises with all the train operating companies so that they can get on with the important task of investing in more and newer trains?

When will the right hon. Gentleman take seriously the question of car parking arrangements at rail and tube stations? Does he understand that better car parking is crucial to persuading more people to get out of their cars? When will he start to remove the many impediments placed in the way of drivers trying to get into town and city centres, some of whom want to get into town so that they can park at the station?

When will the Deputy Prime Minister announce that building 550,000 new homes on the green fields of the south-east would be wrong from every point of view--wrong on grounds of transport and of planning, and wrong because it would make the north-south divide worse?

Will the right hon. Gentleman today rule out the possibility of a foreign company, especially one influenced or controlled by a foreign Government, buying our air traffic services on the cheap for a knock-down price? [Interruption.]

Madam Speaker: Order. I have a lot of good will, and especially at this time of year, but some hon. Members are making great nuisances of themselves. If they persist, I shall have to name them. I know exactly who they are, and I now ask for proper order in the House.

Mr. Redwood: When will the Deputy Prime Minister be able to announce some signed contracts for new road schemes? How much extra money is he making available for roads over the next two years, in view of the big cuts that he has made so far and the U-turn that was announced for him by No. 10? Will he explain why, after two and half years, investment in public transport is down, while the volume of traffic is up, and congestion and taxes have risen?

The Government have failed to provide the public transport that we need so that we can have a choice. They have presided over an opening up of the north-south gap. They watch helpless as thousands of dynamic and talented people come south, and all the Prime Minister can do is tell us on the radio from Merseyside that there are a few rich places in the north as well.

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The Prime Minister and his deputy show how one can go from Jags to riches by coming south. When will they do something to help the people whom they are paid to represent? Their transport policy is rip-off Britain. The motorist is fleeced at the pump, the British haulier is taxed off the road, the tube traveller has to pay ever-higher fares, and less than one fifth of the money collected from road users is spent on transport.

The Government are the biggest rip-off merchants in Britain. They are the masters of stealth taxes and the muggers of the motorist. We need a big expansion of capacity in transport. We have shown how private money can modernise the tube and expand the railway, while at the same time leaving us cash to spend on bypasses and road improvements.

When will the Government realise that they must take action now to avoid total gridlock in the years ahead? That requires big new money, which must come either from free enterprise or from the taxpayer. The third way is much delayed: it is in grave danger of being completely cancelled.

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