East Midlands Rail Franchise

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:44 am on 11th April 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Vice-Chair, Conservative Party 10:44 am, 11th April 2019

The hon. Lady is quite right. I happily join her in thanking those who have worked in this franchise and, indeed, in all the other franchises to make our railway system work day in, day out. It is a hard job they do, and we should recognise that, not criticise them for it.

I also recognise that, when anything changes like this, there will be a degree of uncertainty. A level of uncertainty can come when there are takeovers in any sector of business, but when franchises change there are TUPE protections, which are positive, and I entirely support that. Pensions are a key part of having a comprehensive offer for workers in every sector, and the Pensions Regulator is working with the trustees of the railways pension scheme to ensure that workers’ benefits are protected. We want that to happen. We want to see people in the sector retire with secure, stable, good pensions.