My Lords, over 30,000 passenger-facing rail staff have completed the disability training required by the Office of Rail and Road. As a wheelchair user, travelling by rail is noticeably safer as a result of the excellent assistance train staff provide. The Government want to allow the use of agency workers in place of striking station and train staff. If agency staff have not completed the regulator’s required safety assistance training, would that breach the public sector equality duty? Would disabled passengers be safe in such circumstances?
I can reassure the noble Baroness; there seems to be some misconception that the Government plan to recruit lots of agency staff who have no training whatever for the task they are being asked to perform. That will not be the case at all. We have very safe and increasingly accessible railways, and we will continue to do so. If we ask any staff to do anything beyond their normal role, they will of course receive the appropriate training.