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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:47 am on 5th February 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Vice-Chair, Conservative Party 10:47 am, 5th February 2019

I most happily agree to meet my right hon. Friend.

Questions were raised earlier about how the industry is held to account. The answer is through the Office of Rail and Road, the industry regulator, which holds Network Rail to account for its performance and takes enforcement action in the event of unacceptable performance. The Government will hold franchise holders to account when things go wrong by enforcing their franchise agreements, with contraventions dealt with under the terms of those agreements and in accordance with the Department’s general management compliance process. Evidence of that can be seen in the recent action taken against Govia Thameslink Railway.

Passenger satisfaction is obviously critical and will remain an absolute focus for me as an incoming Minister. Colleagues raised questions about the governance of the area, and I am pleased to see that Network Rail has joined forces with the regional train companies, GWR and Heathrow Express, to create a new joint supervisory board to drive improvements. This is the latest stage of the companies’ commitment to working closer together to improve the passenger experience.

Investment in transport infrastructure has been a long-standing problem across the UK. We have not invested enough in our transport infrastructure over decades, which applies to Governments of all colours. However, I do not think that that accusation can be made against this Government. We are investing £48 billion in our rail network in the next control period.