If I may, I would like to tell you my story.
I'm the son of a miner and the grandson of a miner. I was born in Staffordshire and I went to work in the Staffordshire coalfield just up the road from here.
And before I go on, I want to make one point clear. If you want to understand One Nation, Mr Miliband. I'll show you One Nation, Mr Miliband. He is standing at this podium. I am a One Nation Tory.
And it is this party over the generations that has given people opportunity from whatever their background.
Now, some things have changed since I first went underground at Littleton Colliery. In the year Margaret Thatcher won her first general election.
I've put on a few pounds. I've put on a suit. My hair is a bit greyer. But one important thing hasn't changed. Our job in government today is exactly the same as it was all those years ago.
To deal with our debts. To go for growth. And to get this country moving again.
As Transport Secretary, I'll be doing my bit. I don't hide from the challenge. There will be setbacks as well as successes.
Last week, when we hit one on the West Coast line, I came straight out and confronted it. And we will put things right. I've got a great team around me.
My fellow ministers, Simon Burns and Stephen Hammond. And my LibDem colleague, Norman Baker, too. The department's PPSs Julian Sturdy and Gavin Williamson. And Nicky Morgan in the Whips' office.
Together, we have an outstanding programme to get Britain up to speed. Greater investment in our roads. Vast new ports. And the biggest investment in railways since the Victorians.
WHY TRANSPORT MATTERS
And we need it because the Labour party left Britain with an infrastructure deficit as toxic as the gaping hole they blew in our national finances.
Now, when people ask, "what's your aim in the job?" My answer is straightforward. My task is to reduce the hassle of getting around. I speak plainly. But I think big.
You won't catch me using jargon like 'mixed-modal' or 'calling points' instead of stations. I'm ambitious about transport because I am ambitious for Britain.
Transport is the artery of any economy. It gets people to work, children to school and food to the shops. Everyone depends on it, every day.
When transport slows, everything slows. When transport stops, everything stops. So how do we fix it?
My answer in three words? Invest. In. Infrastructure.
And it's happening. This government is getting the money in the schemes underway and the jobs created.
We're bringing our country together and bringing our economy back to health.
Sometimes, yes, that means huge schemes that will take years to get done. But a lot of the time it's also about the small irritants. The sort of thing that we could fix straightaway.
Like the chaos I came across on the A6 the other weekend, just near my home in Derbyshire. Temporary lights, holding up the traffic. Huge queues. But no work being done. Everything that drives us crazy.
Worse than that, it turned out the emergency repairs were done the previous Wednesday. But it still took five days before they filled in the hole and got rid of the lights.
I'm not interested in just getting an explanation, although I have. I want a solution.
I've demanded utility groups report to me immediately with fast action to stop this kind of chaos.
BACKING BETTER RAIL
Now I live in the Derbyshire Dales. It's not just the most beautiful bit of the Midlands, it's also the place the industrial revolution began.
Arkwright's Mill in Cromford was the home of energy and ingenuity that changed the world. That was an age when men like Brunel and Stephenson dreamed big and acted fast. Like the railway from London to here in Birmingham. Some of you will have used it this week.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it was planned in 1833 and it opened just five years later in 1838. They could do it then. So why can't we do it now?
And by the way that line's done brilliant service but two centuries on it's time for another one.
That is why I will get cracking on High Speed Two not just to get faster journeys but just as vital to free up space on our overcrowded tracks, get freight onto rail and heavy trucks off the M6 and M1.
And yes, I hear those voices who say High Speed Two is too costly. Who say we can muddle through. And yes, the easy option would be to do nothing. It always is.
But my answer is that we can't afford not to build it.
Our competitors around the world are investing in the best transport. And we must too.
My promise in return is that we'll compensate those affected properly. And we'll use the very best technology to limit the impact on homes and the countryside.
No big infrastructure project is ever done without great controversy. But once they are built, people rely on them.
So here's my action plan. At the start of this year, the government committed to build a new line not just to Birmingham but on to Manchester and Leeds.
Soon, I'll publish detailed plans for the route north of Birmingham. But I want even more parts of our country to benefit.
So we're launching a study on the way to get fast journeys further north still. With the aim of getting the journey from Scotland to London to under three hours. And making sure the north-east benefits too. Because this will be a scheme for every person in Britain.
And by the way, it's no good creating a great system if people can't afford to use it.
That's why we've agreed to cut by 2% the planned increase in key fares, like off-peak and season tickets not just for 2013 but for 2014 too.
That means two years of big savings for hard-pressed workers. Money back in people's pockets and a better deal on our trains.
BACKING BETTER ROADS
So, we're investing in better trains. But we need better roads too, to keep cars, trucks and buses moving.
Let's face it, we've underinvested as a country for years. There's too much congestion. Not enough new schemes. It's madness and we are going to sort it out.
So today I'm announcing that we're spending £170m to fix 57 key pinchpoints. We've gone direct to businesses and asked what needs to be done and we are getting the schemes underway.
Like widening the A45 south of Kettering to unlock housing and jobs in Northamptonshire. Or work on the A120 to get traffic moving to Stansted Airport.
Work will start next year and it will be done next year too. Real action for drivers, now.
Like the fast action we're taking to change the law so that foreign lorries pay the cost of using our roads.
But we've also got to think further ahead. We need a wider programme for roads that will address the neglect of the Labour years.
Already we've got some big capital schemes underway. But we must do even more to get the investment in. Business tells us we need better transport and we are acting.
BACKING BETTER AIRPORTS
There's another area where we have got to help businesses too. And that's to compete internationally.
Britain's a leader in air travel. In Heathrow, we've got the busiest international airport anywhere in the world. But it's not going to last, if we don't act.
Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh. All have great airports too.
But in the south east the runways are filling up. And the jets are circling in our skies.
That's hitting our prosperity. It's bad for the environment. It's putting off investors. It's costing jobs And it's holding Britain back.
So we need to make sure we have airports that are globally competitive. Where you can connect to places all over the world. Of course there are all sorts of ideas.
Boris wants an island. I want an answer. And his idea is one of many potential ones. Everyone I meet seems to have their own plan.
So Sir Howard Davies is going to chair a commission to look at every option fairly. I hope all main parties will back his findings. Because like so many transport challenges you can't just click your fingers and fix it.
You need to think big and hold your nerve across decades. And the Olympics have shown just what we can do if we stick to the course.
There was amazing infrastructure. Millions of people on the move with no trouble. I'd like to thank everyone who helped make that happen.
And there was amazing inspiration, too. This was the summer that Britain got cycling. The number of cyclists is soaring.
But the number of accidents has gone up, too. We've got to change that. We've got to build safety into our roads for everyone.
That means better design and better education too.
Because this isn't just about getting motorists to take care. It's also about getting cyclists to do their bit, too.
Now, shortly, we are going to hear from the Chancellor.
He's a man who has set our country on the path to recovery. Dealing with our debts. Investing in infrastructure.
He's an outstanding Chancellor. He's an outstanding colleague.
A Chancellor who works with the Prime Minister. Not against him. This is a team that is working together.
And as former Chief Whip I was fortunate to see how these two men worked from a unique position.
The early morning meetings. The late night calls.
Believe me I've seen what it takes to do the job and I know that these two men have got it.
This government has got it.
The fight. The determination. The vision to take the tough choices that will get our country back to strength.
We will get Britain moving again.