Clause 34

Part of Crossrail Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 27 November 2007.

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Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport) 11:00, 27 November 2007

It may well be that the ORR does not have the expertise, as the Minister described from first-hand knowledge, but in its function as a  regulator it is an expert, independent and impartial observer. Many in the industry might prefer that that body conducted the franchise renegotiation process, rather than the Department for Transport, but that is a discussion for another day and I am not tempted to open it now.

I am interested in the Minister’s reference to an unintended consequence of my amendment being that it might affect the business viability of a franchise and, therefore, might undermine the ability of a franchise holder to terminate if a franchise became unviable and the ability to get compensation. That is certainly not a consequence that I had anticipated.

The spirit of the amendment is to look at a resolution where the access is purely to do with Crossrail. I could not envisage circumstances under which such a minor access arrangement would invalidate the whole franchise, but I am prepared to accept the Minister’s explanation that in certain cases it might, and, therefore, that protection should certainly be in place. Owing to that unintended consequence, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.