The Secretary of State and the Chancellor regularly meet to discuss rail services, and between them they are delivering unprecedented investment in rail infrastructure and reform of the industry. That includes delivering High Speed 2, core Northern Powerhouse Rail and East West Rail, as confirmed by the Chancellor at the autumn statement, while investing in the existing network across the country.
According to reports, Great British Railways is dead in the water thanks to a Treasury that knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. We have seen the Yorkshire leg of HS2 dumped, Northern Powerhouse Rail stripped to the bone and HS2 terminating at Old Oak Common. Does the Minister agree that his colleagues in the Treasury are the biggest threat to the rail network and public transport across these islands?
I do not agree at all. The Secretary of State was quite clear in his Bradshaw talk that Great British Railways would be put forward. It is being put forward, and that Bradshaw address was endorsed by the Treasury and all parts of Government. We are absolutely committed. Later today I will have a discussion with all the team involved in rail reform, as I do on a weekly basis, as we look to transition this project from the Department to Great British Railways. Legislation delivers certain parts of it, but it does not deliver the project. We are delivering the project, and we will look to deliver the legislation when time allows it.
I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be delighted if rail companies, some of which take a rather lax approach to ticket inspection, ensured that passengers had a valid ticket. I can give an example. I, along with seven other members of the High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill Select Committee, went to Manchester on Tuesday. We paid an extortionate amount for our tickets. On the outward journey, no one inspected the tickets, nor did we pass through any barriers. If the Chancellor had more money, he could use it to improve rail services.
I thought my hon. Friend was about to tell us about an even more unfortunate incident, but I am glad that did not occur. We have increased the fine for those who are not using valid tickets to £100, which is reduced to £50 if it is paid on time. That increase demonstrates that we take this matter very seriously. Like him, I find it frustrating when I encounter journeys where the ticket is not checked either on the train or at barriers. I am determined to do more on that front; he is aware of that, and I encourage him to work with me as we do that.