There have been 4 exchanges involving Lord Polak and the Department for Transport
|Wed 29th April 2020||Passenger Train Services (Lords Chamber)||3 interactions (60 words)|
|Wed 13th February 2019||Commercial Air Routes: United Kingdom and East Africa (Lords Chamber)||3 interactions (97 words)|
|Wed 2nd March 2016||Railways: Southern, Southeastern and Thameslink Franchises (Lords Chamber)||3 interactions (75 words)|
|Wed 27th January 2016||Religious Hate Crime (Lords Chamber)||3 interactions (118 words)|
That is an incredibly important question. I am sure the noble Baroness will understand that we are considering all these issues at the moment. There will be regional variations according to which services are more likely to be used. There will also be variations with long-distance services and short-distance commuter routes. All these considerations are being put in. Also, when restarting public transport, one of the key things that we will have to do is look at local impacts—working with metro mayors, for example, and local transport authorities to make sure that they feed into the system and help us plan for their local economies, to get people back to work.
The department was in close contact with TfL. Certainly, the reductions that it made had some consequences for overcrowding. Since then, we know that TfL has made significant changes to the morning service. It has applied station control measures and is working much more closely with the British Transport Police to make sure that overcrowding does not occur. We remain in close contact with TfL and, as importantly, as we restart the system, these issues will once again come to the fore.
My Lords, my noble friend is quite right to point out that there are no direct BA flights to these countries. It does operate direct flights to Kenya and across the continent. In 2017, there were over 23,000 direct flights to Africa, carrying over 4.5 million passengers. My noble friend is quite right: the timing of the allocation of these slots is absolutely key. As with all businesses, airlines need to plan ahead. We are looking at that through our slot reform policy consultation.
My Lords, I acknowledge the challenges and issues that have arisen, particularly with these two franchises. I assure the noble Baroness that the Government are determined to hold those operating the franchises to account. That is why my honourable friend in the other place, the Minister for Rail, Claire Perry, meets the operators, together with the ORR, on a monthly basis to ensure that the requirements of the franchise are being met.
I assure my noble friend that the delays are not down to his presence on the platform, as he brings to our attention the delays that we are seeing on these lines. As I have already said, the Government are committed both to holding those operating these franchises to account and to ensuring that, yes, there is greater investment. That is why the Government have committed to the investment of more than £1 billion in the improvements at London Bridge and beyond, and we are committed to ensure that by 2018 these improvements are felt by commuters. He is quite right to point out that the current service is not good enough.
My Lords, the Government are clear that anyone who preaches any kind of hate has no place here, and I believe that all of us across this House unite on that. Bigotry has no place and any kind of hate, be it based on race, sexual orientation or religion, has no place in British society. The Government, our legal system and our police will stand against that. The noble Lord made brief reference to the Prime Minister’s message. My right honourable friend mentioned the holy personage of Jesus Christ, whom Muslims celebrate because, as the noble Lord well knows, Muslims also regard and revere the Prophet Jesus as a prophet of God.
I join my noble friend in the sentiments he expressed. Indeed, I believe I speak for every Member of this House as we come together on this poignant day, when we remember those who passed away in the Holocaust—the victims of the biggest crime of genocide against humanity that we have seen in the world. We must work together, including on education. I am therefore proud that on entering my office in the Home Office, if you look to the right, the first certificate you will see is for the Anne Frank Trust UK, which does an incredible job in promoting Holocaust education. I praise the efforts of all organisations and the work of my noble friend in this respect.