Text of my short address to Conservative Party Conference as part of a debate on Monday 3rd October:
Good afternoon Conference: Councillor Iain Lindley, City of Salford.
It’s great to be here in Greater Manchester; as a Greater Manchester Councillor, it is fabulous to have Conference on the doorstep again.
Conference, have you ever been in London and complained about waiting five minutes for your tube train? If my train to work in Cheshire is cancelled, I have to wait a whole hour. There are residents and commuters on my local station who wait half an hour only to find a train so full they cannot get on it
So, I’m delighted that the Government is investing in our infrastructure in the North West and across the North of England; in the short term, with projects such as the Ordsall chord and electrification between Liverpool, Manchester and Preston, and in the long-term with high-speed rail.
Ladies and gentlemen, if we truly want to rebalance our economy, we need to give the North West and the North the tools to grow and to create jobs. London has those tools at the moment, but the North West and Greater Manchester do not have the same level of infrastructure. The true value of the projects I mention is to give this region the infrastructure to compete on a level playing field.
Conference, I truly believe that the business case for high-speed rail stacks up. Do the panel agree, though, that the case for high-speed rail goes above and beyond a simple cost-benefit analysis? If you give us, as a Government, the tools to grow, the North will deliver.
(You can watch this on BBC iPlayer until Monday 10th October – scroll to 25 minutes in)