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Department for Transport: Health

Department for Transport written question – answered on 24th October 2019.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Shadow Minister (Wales)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department uses Office for National Statistics estimates of personal well-being in formulating policy; and what policies his Department has introduced to improve personal well-being in the past 12 months.

Photo of Chris Heaton-Harris Chris Heaton-Harris Minister of State (Department for Transport)

This Government recognises the important role transport plays in connecting communities, which is why we have committed £72 billion in capital spending over the five years until 2020/21.

In the past 12 months the Department for Transport has also introduced several initiatives that contribute to improving personal well-being.

Reflecting buses’ vital role in connecting communities and reducing isolation, in September 2019 the Government announced a £220 million package to transform bus services. This included £30 million extra funding for local authorities to enable them to improve current bus services or to restore lost services. This funding is additional to the over £2 billion of existing public sector support for buses.

In the Government’s 2018 Loneliness Strategy the Department made several commitments, including:

  • Building partnerships with transport providers and community groups who are developing initiatives for how transport can be used as a means for tackling loneliness

  • Putting the need for inclusive transport at the heart of our approach to the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge

  • Supporting community groups wishing to make use of unused or underused railway property

  • Providing funding to the Community Transport Association for driver training, recognising the key role they play in connecting their local community

  • Working with seven Mobility Centres in England to pilot ‘community hubs’ which will help support those that are at risk of loneliness

    In July 2019, Nusrat Ghani announced the following as part of the one year anniversary of the Inclusive Transport Strategy:

  • That 73 stations would receive a share of £300 million for the Access for All Fund, delivering accessibility improvements between 2019 and 2024

  • That 22 Motorway Service Areas will receive a share of a £2 million fund, run in partnership with Muscular Dystrophy UK, for fully accessible Changing Places toilet facilities

  • The extension of the Blue Badge eligibility criteria to include people with non-visible disabilities

    The Government is also committed to increasing cycling and walking and making our roads safer for vulnerable users – our aim is to double cycling and increase walking by 2025. Almost £2 billion is therefore being invested in cycling and walking over this Parliament through the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.

    In the development of policy, the Department uses a wide range of evidence, including data from across ONS sources. We are continuing to build our understanding in this area and plan to shortly publish a social behavioural literature review into the impact of transport on wellbeing.

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