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Confidence in the Secretary of State for Transport

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:27 pm on 19th June 2018.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington 3:27 pm, 19th June 2018

I am grateful for that thoughtful intervention, and my hon. Friend makes a good point. However, although there are national issues with the training of drivers and ensuring that they have the appropriate skillset, industry stakeholders pointed out to the Department and, presumably, the Secretary of State that it would normally take 40 weeks to prepare, identify training needs and ensure that drivers were in place, but in this case only 16 weeks were allocated and, if my memory of yesterday’s evidence serves me right, it was not until around two days before implementation, when they were drawing up the driver rosters, that they discovered that they had the wrong skill mix and that the drivers were in the wrong places to operate the new timetable. So although my hon. Friend makes a good point, Ministers and the Secretary of State must ultimately bear responsibility for the decisions that were made.