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My question to the SoS for Transport on impact of pausing rail electrification programme

Mike Kane (Wythenshawe and Sale East) (Lab): I welcome the Secretary of State’s view that the Davies recommendation is not a missed opportunity to use the UK’s runway capacity to the full, but I put it to him that he is contemplating staggeringly massive public sector subsidies to a western rail link, to the infrastructure work on runway 3 and to the completion of Crossrail, while pulling Leeds-Manchester electrification and midland main line electrification. He has to square that because those two projects would drive traffic to Manchester airport in my constituency.

 

Mr McLoughlin: I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman thinks that we are pulling those projects. I have put that electrification on pause. I want the costs to be looked at. I do not want a repeat of what happened when the last Labour Government started the upgrade of the west coast main line: it was estimated at £2 billion, turned out at £9 billion and did not lead to the changes we needed. I am very proud of what we are doing with the northern powerhouse, and I am very pleased that this Government will actually see the abolition of the Pacers that serve his constituency and the rest of the northern area, too. If this statement was not just on aviation, I could roll out a number of other improvements that we are making to support the northern powerhouse, and I would have thought that he supported us.

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