Dudley North MP Ian Austin has urged the government to invest in infrastructure projects in the Black Country instead of London and the South East.
He intervened in a debate about infrastructure investment in Oxfordshire and Kent to demand a fair share of investment for the West Midlands.
He said that the majority of government spending on infrastructure projects was already being spent in London, the South-East and the Home Counties and pointed out that the number of civil service jobs in London had increased by thousands when spending cuts had hit public sector jobs and vital public services elsewhere in the country.
Ian Austin said:
“It is unbelievable to hear Conservative MPs for wealthy areas in the South East and the Home Counties demanding more investment for projects when the lion’s share of infrastructure spending already goes to London, the South East and the Home Counties.
“They have imposed austerity on the rest of us, hitting jobs and public services in areas that have struggled to attract new investment and new jobs.
“It’s about time they took the pressure off the already over-heated London and South East and invested more in infrastructure projects to get the economy moving and bring new jobs to other parts of Britain, like the Black Country.”
The full exchange was as follows:
London, the South-East and the Home Counties already get the vast majority of public sector investment. Civil service employment actually went up in London and the south-east while public spending was being cut in the rest of the country. Government Members impose austerity on the rest of us, and now they are coming to the Chamber to demand more spending for their own areas. Instead of thinking about London, the south-east and Oxfordshire, why do the Government not start looking at the position of the Black Country so that they invest in infrastructure there and bring some new jobs to places such as Dudley?
Treasury Minister John Glen MP:
I am very sorry but I do not recognise the hon. Gentleman’s characterisation of the Government’s intentions. We have actually rolled out a comprehensive strategy across the country in terms of the northern powerhouse and the midlands engine with the systematic devolution of decision making and resources to enable growth throughout the country.