GWR and Network Performance — [Mr Clive Betts in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:12 am on 5th February 2019.

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Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Conservative, Cheltenham 10:12 am, 5th February 2019

It is true that the system uses public money, but it comes down to how much public money, and what is the proper balance. I simply make the point that although it is easy in the abstract to suggest that if the railways come into public ownership, fares will come down and quality will go up, I suspect that is unlikely in reality. If I am looking for additional funding for my local oncology centre, compared with more rolling stock, I think I know which one I and many colleagues would prioritise.

If train operating companies want to enjoy public support—they do not enjoy enough public support because they are the author of their own misfortune in many circumstances—they must raise their game in two particulars. First, they must be more reliable, and secondly they must be more competitive in their pricing structure. Otherwise, the people of Cheltenham, who I represent, will feel that they are getting a raw deal. Public services must be for the people, and GWR needs to raise its game.