John Stevenson: I appreciate that the debate is very much about the north-east and the transport there, but connectivity between regions and cities is vital. We have heard good news about the A66. Will there be good news about the A69?
Andrew Jones: That was very good timing, from a comedy perspective. I will talk about roads if I get a moment a little bit later.
We are very keen to continue the work on rebalancing the economy. The northern powerhouse is a significant part of Government thinking and has driven much investment over the past few years. We have created Transport for the North, which is a key part of the concept of the northern powerhouse—it is about taking control of one’s destiny. Transport for the North is driving forward transport plans and will support economic growth across the whole of the north. There will be a £13 billion set of investments in Yorkshire and the Humber, the north-west and the north-east during the course of this Parliament alone.
Andrew Jones: We have not talked much about roads. Not only will we have a motorway running to the north-east for the first time ever, as highlighted by my hon. Friend John Stevenson, but there are also schemes to the west of Newcastle. With regard to today’s announcements, I can confirm that we have done five strategic studies in the Department for Transport as part of the road investment strategy. As part of those, the A66 will be dualled and there will be work on the north-west quadrant of the M60. That is part of the road investment strategy from 2020 to 2025, so the idea that the north-west is getting everything and the north-east is ignored is not true. There was a further announcement, which has not necessarily been picked up yet: that the Tees Valley east-west connections are also being approved to take the business case forward to the next stage. That is effectively a Darlington north-western bypass. That was a further positive announcement today.