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Confidence in the Secretary of State for Transport

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:03 pm on 19th June 2018.

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Photo of Bim Afolami Bim Afolami Conservative, Hitchin and Harpenden 3:03 pm, 19th June 2018

I thank my hon. Friend. One point worth making—one that backs up his intervention—is that a real frustration as a Member of Parliament is knowing the intended improvements over the medium term, but constituents quite rightly not believing that the improvements will happen when the implementation does not work as hoped. It is therefore incumbent on GTR and Network Rail to do their best to get a grip not just on the medium and long terms, but on the emergency timetable.

I want to draw the attention of the House and the Minister to a private Member’s Bill that I will shortly introduce relating to enhanced compensation for passengers. I recognise that the Secretary of State has set out a compensation scheme specifically for the disturbances over past weeks, but the compensation in the Bill will be governed by the Government’s new rail ombudsman on an ongoing basis, providing automatic compensation for all passengers throughout the country. In addition, it will provide enhanced, more generous compensation for passengers throughout the country. Critically, it will ensure not just that passengers get a percentage of a single ticket for a train that is cancelled or delayed, but that we move towards a system with service levels and a contract between the operator and the passenger. Then, if that service level is not maintained, the passenger will receive compensation. I would like the Minister and the Secretary of State to consider that direction.