Transport is key to our local economy and levelling up, so I am pleased at the improvements being made in West Midlands

Transport is key to our local economy, to levelling up, and to people’s opportunity literally to get on their bikes and better themselves—something that we Conservatives believe in strongly, in line with our best traditions and values.

Every time I am out and about in Redditch and the villages of Inkberrow, Cookhill, the Lenches, Hanbury and Abbots Morton, it is inevitable that transport in all its forms is raised with me. That’s why I recently secured a Westminster Hall debate on Government funding for transport in the West Midlands.

Improving local transport is one of the key pledges I made to my constituents when I was elected for the first time in 2017. As an MP who represents rural, urban and suburban residents, I know there is a range of transport needs which vary widely depending on where people live in my constituency.

Before securing the debate, I asked my constituents to give me their views on the transport network in Redditch and the Villages. I asked them about roads, rail, bus issues around the constituency so I could put their views directly to the Transport Minister – and I did just that.

Starting first with motorists, because after all Redditch is a new town that was constructed with the car at its heart. The responses to my survey reflected the central part that cars play in my constituents’ lives. Road quality was an issue that was highlighted, with 52% of respondents expressing their dissatisfaction with the quality of roads in their area.

That’s why I was pleased to hear the Minister confirm that, following the reallocation of HS2 funding, Worcestershire County Council has received an extra £2.3 million this year to resurface local roads, including an £842,000 investment in Redditch to treat more than two and a half miles of carriageway.

Councils will also be receiving a share of the brand-new £4.7 billion Local Transport Fund – with Worcestershire receiving £209 million of additional funding over the next seven years as a result. The Local Transport Fund aims to help to improve connectivity between and within towns and cities, while improving everyday journeys for local people. I will of course continue to ensure my constituency receives its fair share of this multi-million Government funding.

Improving bus services is also a key pledge I made to my constituents at the last election. Bus services have faced challenges as a result of Covid, but the Government has stepped in to help by awarding £6 million to support bus services in Worcestershire since 2022.

In addition to the challenges bus services have faced, we have seen some success stories too. Thanks to the hard work of the Conservative-run County Council and backing from the Government, the No. 51 and No. 52 routes that serve Redditch are among the most commercially successful in the entire UK. I will, however, continue to work hard with Councillors and Ministers to see what more we can do to support our bus network and to ensure it is reliable and delivers for residents.

Lastly, rail services are vital form of transport for many of my constituents. With Redditch being in the fortunate position of being just down the road from Birmingham, a major economic centre, it’s essential we have a reliable connection so that my constituents can choose to work in or visit the city with relative ease while living in the town.

Before Covid, we had three trains per hour from Redditch to Birmingham and for some strange reason that I am not clear on, we now have only two. We must return to the previous situation immediately; it is past time for that.

I’m pleased to have secured the commitment from the Minister that we will return to three trains per hour, and I will continue to press for the timetable on this to be sped up. This is all thanks to the Government’s £1.75 billion investment in the Midlands Rail Hub.

There is of course always more to do, but I’m pleased to be making progress on my plan to improve local transport.

Rachel Maclean MP

Rachel Maclean is the Conservative MP for Redditch, and elected in 2017.