I believe that there is also a moral debt to mining communities—it is a kind of social compact. We asked men to go underground and help to create the wealth of our country, then we closed the mines in the most brutal manner imaginable. It is not sufficient for us simply to

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walk away from those communities with the job only half done, yet the Government give all the impression in the world of walking away, uninterested. There have been cuts to the CRT; our local council has lost £185 million; 180 local NHS staff have gone; the bedroom tax affects 1,500 people in the area, and so on. The job is not finished.

The Minister might say that there are fiscal problems, but the Prime Minister, before he was elected, said, “We will not cut front-line services. We will only cut waste.” I am a hard-bitten Yorkshireman—I do not like spending money, and I hate the idea of waste. I agree with cutting waste, but that is not what is happening in my constituency. Agencies that should be standing alongside communities are being made to walk away because money is no longer available to them.

We know what has happened from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the man who sits next to the Chancellor. He has said that the Tories are

“ideologically wedded to continuous cuts as the route to a smaller state.”

There we have it—an ideological commitment to a smaller state.

I do not want a large state for the sake of it, and I certainly do not want a Government who act like Big Brother. I want a Government who are active and who stand alongside individuals and communities and help them to achieve their aspirations. This Government have broken the social compact. We should recognise that ties of obligation bind us together, and it is a basic, British, moral and ethical value to suggest that if someone, some group, or one community or another, falls behind through no fault of their own, the rest of us should turn round and help. The Government give the impression of having neglected that social compact and idea of not letting people fall behind, and that basic British value.

It is not too late for the Government to change course, and I appeal to the Minister to go away and look at what is happening in the coalfield communities—perhaps not this evening—especially in my area but also more widely, and see what else might be done. If the Government continue to be as hard-faced as the impression they give, they will be swept aside by a Government who will express more clearly the true values of the British people in the general election next year.

9.20 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Penny Mordaunt): I congratulate the hon. Member for Hemsworth (Jon Trickett) on securing this important debate on the regeneration of south-east Wakefield. The Government recognise the historic challenges facing his local economy, as outlined in this debate, and are investing in Wakefield. The Coalfields Regeneration Trust has made 191 individual grant awards in the south-east Wakefield area, amounting to more than £3.9 million. Overall Government investment in coalfield areas since 1999 has amounted to nearly £900 million. The Homes and Communities Agency has spent nearly £7.8 million to date on bringing land back into use at the former Frickley colliery and in south-east Wakefield. We are investing nearly £2 billion to unlock major housing sites, including on brownfield land, and £150 million to kick-start the regeneration of large housing estates.

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The hon. Gentleman mentioned the green belt, and although I cannot comment on the individual case, I shall write to him about the others issues he touched on. I am pleased that a couple of areas in his constituency have put in place neighbourhood plans—that is on his point about villages at war—and I encourage other areas in his constituency to take them up. In order to assist local communities that may not have much capacity to do that, the Government are looking at putting together some materials, templates and additional support. I recognise that this is tough stuff, particularly for the smaller communities that he describes, and we want to ensure that they have the tools to get on with that.

The hon. Gentleman spoke eloquently about the pride and resilience in his community, and about its close community bond and grit. Although my constituency of Portsmouth does not have many miners, I certainly recognise the characters he describes. He is right that regeneration and the sorts of activities that ensure quality of life for all in our constituencies are down to local people going that extra mile, putting themselves out, and coming up with ideas based on what will work at a local level.

I could enter into an ideological argument for the hon. Gentleman tonight but I will not do that. I am interested in what practical support I can supply to people in his constituency, and he touched eloquently on a number of issues that my brief could assist with. For example, high streets are as much about regenerating local economies as about providing support and services to vulnerable people in our communities, as well as a social hub and community contact. That is why we value and are investing in them. We are also giving particular encouragement and weight to representation from social enterprise and the third sector in local enterprise partnerships across the country. They will be a key part of the heavy lifting that the hon. Gentleman described, and we are encouraging local enterprise partnerships to ensure that the sector is well represented on its boards.

Wakefield council has made economic growth and fostering partnerships of the sort I described a priority. This has secured a number of flagship projects, including the Merchant Gate and Trinity Walk developments, and supported the development of the highly successful Hepworth gallery, which is bringing people to Wakefield from across the country and further afield. As a result, Wakefield centre is being transformed. An example of the council’s approach to regeneration is the 25-year, £750 million private finance initiative partnership with the Shanks Group plc for a new waste management facility. This secured up to £30.4 million in investment from the Green Investment Bank and a group of leading international banks. The development is expected to be completed next year and will create 250 construction jobs and 60 permanent jobs. Overall, the facilities will process 200,000 tonnes of municipal waste per annum, helping to increase the council’s recycling rate to at least 52%.

Wakefield is also host to many world-class businesses, and major investments are being made—for example, by Coca-Cola. In June, the company announced £13 million of investment in new technology at its Wakefield plant. Coca-Cola is also working closely with local businesses in the community. For example, its site director, Ian Johnson, participated in Wakefield business week this

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summer. Moreover, of course, it is not just investment by household names that is making a big difference to Wakefield and its people. Mark Ridgway, managing director of Group Rhodes, is showing many of us the way on exports. A Queen’s award winner and one of Europe’s finest manufacturers of special purpose machinery, Group Rhodes continues to expand and create jobs through its partnerships worldwide.

Beaumont Legal, one of the fastest-growing law practices in the UK, recently cemented its position as Yorkshire’s largest residential conveyancer by opening a second office in Wakefield. Another excellent example of investor confidence in Wakefield is the investment by Xamax, a branded clothing and sportswear specialist. With support from the regional growth fund, through the locally managed business growth programme, it is developing a new production and showroom facility. Graham Thompson, the managing director, is driving forward the growth of his company and sees an exciting future, including creating more jobs and further building on the portfolio of products offered.

Wakefield council was also awarded £8.1 million from round 1 of the regional growth fund to regenerate four housing sites. This project will bring new homes to the communities of south Wakefield, offering choice to local residents and making the communities vibrant places to live in. The scheme is on track to create 425 new construction jobs, having delivered 100 jobs to date. The projects are progressing well, and two of the four sites have started building already, with the take-up of new housing higher than anticipated.

In the second round of the regional growth fund, £1.4 million was awarded to build a roundabout close to Ferrybridge power station. The roundabout, now completed, has enabled the construction of a new multi-fuel plant being developed by a joint venture between SSE and Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. The multi-fuel plant will create 50 operational jobs and about 300 construction jobs during the first three years of its build. I congratulate these companies and business men and the local Wakefield First economic partnership on working together to maximise development opportunities for local people. I understand that about 30 local companies are now involved in the supply chain, and more opportunities will come from phase two of the plant, which is now in development.

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There are also the Wakefield business support teams, which are on the ground working with companies and communities to help to create jobs and get local people into them. Based in south-east Wakefield, the delivery partners are using just short of £2 million of European and local council resource to help businesses to start and grow, including through exporting.

The Leeds city region growth deal includes £62.2 million from the local growth fund confirmed for 2015-16 and £233.3 million for the following year to 2021, and £277.4 million of the total includes previously committed funding by my colleagues in the Department for Transport for devolved local majors and other large schemes, with funding beyond 2015-16. The award includes £180 million from the local growth fund for the West Yorkshire Plus transport fund and an additional £30 million per annum through to 2034-35. With local contributions, the West Yorkshire Plus transport fund will bring £1 billion to the improvement of inter-city and intra-city connectivity and could include enhancements to rail and rapid transit and more effective highways and bus networks. Other programmes and projects that will be funded from the local growth fund include housing schemes and other developments in the Leeds city region, including Wakefield. As Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds city region LEP, said:

“This is a game-changing moment for the Leeds City Region.”

Those involved have worked closely with businesses and partners to showcase the region’s immense potential to play a leading role in balancing the UK economy.

We are committed to giving local areas such as south-east Wakefield both the funding and the freedom they need to maintain their leading position in the UK economy. I am a new Minister and I look forward to working with the hon. Gentleman to ensure that we are doing that work as effectively as possible. I thank him for securing this debate, which has been helpful and has afforded me the opportunity to mention some of the people he describes in his constituency who are delivering for their communities. I thank him for raising this matter with me. I shall write to him on the green-belt issue, and if there are any other asks that he or his constituents have of this Government or if there is any more that we can do, I would be very happy to discuss those matters with him.

Question put and agreed to.

9.32 pm

House adjourned.