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Confidence in the Secretary of State for Transport

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:56 pm on 19th June 2018.

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Photo of Jo Johnson Jo Johnson Minister of State (Department for Education) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (Department for Transport), Minister of State (London) 3:56 pm, 19th June 2018

As the hon. Gentleman will understand, it is important that the Department acts consistently and treats train operating companies consistently across the industry. The Department is carefully reviewing whether GTR has breached any of its franchise commitments, and we will do that thoroughly, following all correct due processes, as everybody has a right to expect us to.

Let me turn to compensation. We are clear that passengers on the lines that have been severely affected by these issues will receive additional compensation. The Department is working closely with Network Rail, train operators and stakeholders to introduce a special compensation scheme as soon as possible. We have already recommended to the board of Transport for the North that passengers who buy weekly, monthly or annual tickets on affected Northern and TPE routes should be eligible to claim up to four weeks’ compensation. As part of the scheme, the industry will be providing financial support to Transport for the North to deal with other costs that have arisen from the disruption.

I expect the board of TFN to confirm the final details of the scheme by its next meeting on 28 June and for payments to begin for Northern in early July. The Secretary of State has also announced a compensation package for passengers who travel on affected Thameslink and Great Northern routes. As he said, it will follow the special compensation scheme for Northern and TPE. Finally, we are looking at options to further support the northern economy and expect Northern to fund a marketing campaign encouraging travel to affected areas by train, including the Lakes.

I hope that this has reassured right hon. and hon. Members of the seriousness with which the Government are taking the disruption facing passengers. We are taking action to resolve the problems as quickly as possible, to compensate passengers appropriately, and to learn the lessons that will prevent this happening again in the future.

Question put.

The House proceeded to a Division.