There have been 2 exchanges between Sir Alan Campbell and Joseph Johnson
|1||Wed 10th January 2018||
Department for Transport
|2 interactions (479 words)|
|2||Wed 13th September 2017||
Higher Education (England) Regulations
Department for Education
|2 interactions (89 words)|
I certainly do welcome that investment in the midland main line. That is one of the many investments that we are making across the country, and it is part of the £38 billion that we are spending in the control period to 2019. As I said, a further £48 billion is yet to come. This will mean new stations and rejuvenated older ones.
Before Christmas, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State set out a new approach to delivering rail services. It does not require the colossal reorganisations of the kind that nationalisation would entail. It will deliver the best of both worlds, keeping the benefits of privatisation while maintaining vital infrastructure in public hands and preparing our railway to meet the challenges of the future. Earlier in the debate, the Secretary of State addressed the recent accusations regarding the east coast franchise. It is wrong to describe this as a bail-out. When Virgin Trains East Coast was awarded the contract, it committed £165 million to support the business if it failed to perform as expected. As my right hon. Friend said, we will hold the company to that commitment in full. It has met all its commitments to the taxpayer so far and it is continuing to do so. Make no mistake: we will hold all guarantors, including Stagecoach, to those financial commitments.
We have been making significant progress with industry on the Secretary of State’s vision for the east coast partnership from 2020, and on plans to meet that commitment. We stand by that commitment in full. I was asked about a direct award to Virgin-Stagecoach, and I refer the House to the answer that the Secretary of State gave earlier. My Department is preparing contingency plans, as we do not believe that the Virgin Trains east coast franchise will be financially viable through to 2020. We intend to return to the House in due course, once those plans are in place.
Many hon. Members raised the issue of fares. These are at the heart of the massive investment that is going into the railways, and it is of course right that that investment should be derived not just from taxpayers’ money. Passengers benefit from the improvements that our investment programme is delivering, and it is right that they make a contribution towards it. On average, 97p in every pound that passengers pay—
The Leader of the Opposition asks about drop-out rates, so he will be interested to know that across all categories—young, mature, disadvantaged, and black and minority ethnic—those are lower now than they were in 2009 and 2010. He should look at the statistics before he challenges the Government’s record on widening the participation and attainment of people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Labour’s proposal to remove fees—