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 am running out of time. There will also be more electrification works in this period. The electrification to Newbury and to Bristol Parkway was introduced this year, and we are working to complete the electrification to Cardiff later this year. When all that is complete, we will see benefits including journey time improvements of 15 minutes, which is a significant change.

Fares were mentioned. I remind colleagues that we are in the sixth year of capping regulated fares in line with inflation. We have introduced a railcard for 16 and 17-year-olds, and the industry has introduced a railcard for 26 to 30-year-olds, so basically everybody under 30 will be able to access discounted rail fares. It might also be worth reminding Opposition Members that, in its last year in office, the Labour party gave passengers a 10% fare increase, and that, where Labour now has the capacity to run the railways, through the devolved Administrations, we have also seen fares increase in line with inflation. I gently say to those colleagues that they have been saying one thing but doing another.

Perhaps it is worth further reminding colleagues how many miles of the Great Western main line Labour electrified when it was in office—zero. How much new inter-city rolling stock did Labour introduce when in office? Absolute zero. I understand the comments from Opposition Members, but it feels rather like the arsonists complaining about the amount of time it has taken the fire brigade to arrive.