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Written Question
Train Operating Companies: Pay
Monday 23rd May 2022

Asked by: Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)

Question to the Department for Transport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what pay mandate he has set for the Train Operating Companies in 2022.

Answered by Wendy Morton - Minister of State (Department for Transport)

Our railways are on financial life support. We have lost a quarter of our passengers and the Government has spent £16 billion during the pandemic, equivalent to nearly £600 per household, irrespective of whether they use the railways, to keep subsidising the railway. We need to make our railways fit for the future and want a fair deal for staff, passengers, and taxpayers so the railway does not take money away from other essential public services such as the NHS.

Unions are threatening industrial action before talks have even begun. Strikes should be the last resort, not the first. They will stop customers choosing rail, and those passengers might never return, killing services and jobs. The RMT trade union are balloting 40,000 members from across England, Wales and Scotland for industrial action and we would expect the relevant devolved authorities to be engaging with the employers in affected areas.

Train operating companies are the employers of rail staff, not the Government. They, therefore, individually negotiate with trade unions on matters such as pay.

The Department has a commercial relationship with train operators, and we maintain a public register of rail contracts available on the Government website at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/public-register-of-rail-passenger-contracts. This contains guidance on how to request information and what information we are unable to publish.


Written Question
Railways: Strikes
Monday 23rd May 2022

Asked by: Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)

Question to the Department for Transport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received on the impact of industrial action on the railways from (a) rail industry organisations and (b) devolved authorities.

Answered by Wendy Morton - Minister of State (Department for Transport)

Our railways are on financial life support. We have lost a quarter of our passengers and the Government has spent £16 billion during the pandemic, equivalent to nearly £600 per household, irrespective of whether they use the railways, to keep subsidising the railway. We need to make our railways fit for the future and want a fair deal for staff, passengers, and taxpayers so the railway does not take money away from other essential public services such as the NHS.

Unions are threatening industrial action before talks have even begun. Strikes should be the last resort, not the first. They will stop customers choosing rail, and those passengers might never return, killing services and jobs. The RMT trade union are balloting 40,000 members from across England, Wales and Scotland for industrial action and we would expect the relevant devolved authorities to be engaging with the employers in affected areas.

Train operating companies are the employers of rail staff, not the Government. They, therefore, individually negotiate with trade unions on matters such as pay.

The Department has a commercial relationship with train operators, and we maintain a public register of rail contracts available on the Government website at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/public-register-of-rail-passenger-contracts. This contains guidance on how to request information and what information we are unable to publish.


Written Question
Train Operating Companies: Finance
Monday 23rd May 2022

Asked by: Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)

Question to the Department for Transport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what savings he is requiring in (a) 2022 and (b) 2023 from (i) each individual Train Operating Company and (ii) all Train Operating Companies in total; and whether in each case he is requiring a certain proportion of those savings to be found from salary costs.

Answered by Wendy Morton - Minister of State (Department for Transport)

Our railways are on financial life support. We have lost a quarter of our passengers and the Government has spent £16 billion during the pandemic, equivalent to nearly £600 per household, irrespective of whether they use the railways, to keep subsidising the railway. We need to make our railways fit for the future and want a fair deal for staff, passengers, and taxpayers so the railway does not take money away from other essential public services such as the NHS.

Unions are threatening industrial action before talks have even begun. Strikes should be the last resort, not the first. They will stop customers choosing rail, and those passengers might never return, killing services and jobs. The RMT trade union are balloting 40,000 members from across England, Wales and Scotland for industrial action and we would expect the relevant devolved authorities to be engaging with the employers in affected areas.

Train operating companies are the employers of rail staff, not the Government. They, therefore, individually negotiate with trade unions on matters such as pay.

The Department has a commercial relationship with train operators, and we maintain a public register of rail contracts available on the Government website at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/public-register-of-rail-passenger-contracts. This contains guidance on how to request information and what information we are unable to publish.


Written Question
Train Operating Companies: Expenditure and Staff
Monday 23rd May 2022

Asked by: Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)

Question to the Department for Transport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the correspondence between his Department and Train Operating Companies on spending cuts and workforce reforms since the Autumn Statement on 27 October 2021.

Answered by Wendy Morton - Minister of State (Department for Transport)

Our railways are on financial life support. We have lost a quarter of our passengers and the Government has spent £16 billion during the pandemic, equivalent to nearly £600 per household, irrespective of whether they use the railways, to keep subsidising the railway. We need to make our railways fit for the future and want a fair deal for staff, passengers, and taxpayers so the railway does not take money away from other essential public services such as the NHS.

Unions are threatening industrial action before talks have even begun. Strikes should be the last resort, not the first. They will stop customers choosing rail, and those passengers might never return, killing services and jobs. The RMT trade union are balloting 40,000 members from across England, Wales and Scotland for industrial action and we would expect the relevant devolved authorities to be engaging with the employers in affected areas.

Train operating companies are the employers of rail staff, not the Government. They, therefore, individually negotiate with trade unions on matters such as pay.

The Department has a commercial relationship with train operators, and we maintain a public register of rail contracts available on the Government website at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/public-register-of-rail-passenger-contracts. This contains guidance on how to request information and what information we are unable to publish.


Written Question
Train Operating Companies: Pay
Monday 23rd May 2022

Asked by: Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)

Question to the Department for Transport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether Train Operating Companies will be permitted to individually negotiate pay settlements in the event of an industrial dispute.

Answered by Wendy Morton - Minister of State (Department for Transport)

Our railways are on financial life support. We have lost a quarter of our passengers and the Government has spent £16 billion during the pandemic, equivalent to nearly £600 per household, irrespective of whether they use the railways, to keep subsidising the railway. We need to make our railways fit for the future and want a fair deal for staff, passengers, and taxpayers so the railway does not take money away from other essential public services such as the NHS.

Unions are threatening industrial action before talks have even begun. Strikes should be the last resort, not the first. They will stop customers choosing rail, and those passengers might never return, killing services and jobs. The RMT trade union are balloting 40,000 members from across England, Wales and Scotland for industrial action and we would expect the relevant devolved authorities to be engaging with the employers in affected areas.

Train operating companies are the employers of rail staff, not the Government. They, therefore, individually negotiate with trade unions on matters such as pay.

The Department has a commercial relationship with train operators, and we maintain a public register of rail contracts available on the Government website at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/public-register-of-rail-passenger-contracts. This contains guidance on how to request information and what information we are unable to publish.


Written Question
Large Goods Vehicle Drivers: Conditions of Employment
Monday 14th February 2022

Asked by: Kirsten Oswald (Scottish National Party - East Renfrewshire)

Question to the Department for Transport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his statement on 10 September 2021, Transport update, HC WS 282, what progress the cross-Government ministerial group has made on securing improvements in the working conditions and employment contract arrangements for HGV drivers.

Answered by Trudy Harrison - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Government recognises the need to ensure hauliers have access to appropriate services and facilities. We are aware of the concerns expressed by many HGV drivers about the provision, quality and value of lorry parking in the UK.

We have announced £32.5 million in new funding to improve roadside facilities for hauliers and are undertaking a new National Lorry Parking Survey supported by direct industry engagement to help identify where improvements are most needed. We continue to engage with key stakeholders to encourage the development of safe, secure and high-quality lorry parking.

The Department published a joint letter with the Health and Safety Executive to remind businesses of their legal obligation to provide toilet and handwashing facilities to drivers visiting their premises as part of their work.

The Government has confirmed its support for an industry-led “Year of Logistics” as well as the promotion of good practice in the sector as endorsed by unions and trade representatives. The Government does not intervene in the levels of pay in private businesses, with the exception of setting the rates for the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.


Written Question
High Speed 2 Line: Iron and Steel
Monday 10th January 2022

Asked by: Bill Esterson (Labour - Sefton Central)

Question to the Department for Transport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with trade unions and representatives from the UK's steel industry on setting targets for the use of British made steel in the construction of HS2.

Answered by Andrew Stephenson - Minister of State (Department for Transport)

HS2 Ltd has engaged extensively with the British steel industry over the last five years to ensure that it is in the best position possible to compete for contracts to build Britain’s new high speed rail network. Due to UK procurement law, public bodies such as HS2 Ltd must ensure that all procurement activity is carried out on a fair, equal and transparent basis and does not discriminate on the basis of location.

However, the Department are very keen that UK steel is used in the construction of HS2 where practicable. HS2’s engagement with the sector has resulted, to date, in 28 of the 29 reinforcement fabrication contracts at Tier 3 level being awarded to UK-based companies.


Written Question
Large Goods Vehicle Drivers: Vacancies
Thursday 18th November 2021

Asked by: Kirsten Oswald (Scottish National Party - East Renfrewshire)

Question to the Department for Transport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the shortage of HGV drivers across the UK; and what consultation has taken place with representatives of the road haulage industry in connection with that assessment.

Answered by Trudy Harrison - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Department for Transport is working across Government and with the road haulage industry to address the current HGV driver shortage, which is an issue affecting many countries worldwide. For example, the International Road Transport Union predicts a gap of 185,000 drivers by 2027 in Germany. Current trade association estimates of the UK driver shortage range from 85,000 to 90,000. The current shortage includes both a chronic, long-term, component and an acute element. The Office for National Statistics estimates the number of drivers to be 268,000 in the 12 months ending June 2021, which is 39,000 fewer than the year ending June 2019.

The Department has held regular meetings with the road haulage industry and trade unions regarding driver shortages and its impact on supply chains The Government has taken decisive action to address the acute driver shortage, with 30 specific measures already taken to support driver training, increase the availability of driving tests and improve the standard and availability of roadside facilities. These measures are working. There is no backlog of HGV licence applications and we are seeing over a thousand more people than normal apply for a licence each week.


Written Question
Migrant Workers: Large Goods Vehicle Drivers
Thursday 15th July 2021

Asked by: Kerry McCarthy (Labour - Bristol East)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what (a) discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues and (b) representations she has received from businesses and trade organisations on the potential (i) merits of adding heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers to the shortage occupation list and (ii) effect on HGV driver shortages of so adding HGV drivers to the shortage occupation list.

Answered by Kevin Foster - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers do not qualify for Skilled Worker visas therefore cannot be added to the Shortage Occupation List.

There is no plan to introduce a new temporary visa for this sector to address recruitment problems. Some Trade Unions have recently agreed the issues affecting the haulage sector would not be solved by offering temporary visas and should focus on making pay and conditions more attractive for the domestic labour market.

While the Home Office regularly engages with other Government Departments and stakeholders on departmental business, the Department for Transport is leading the Government’s work on what can be done to support the sector.


Written Question
Migrant Workers: Large Goods Vehicle Drivers
Thursday 15th July 2021

Asked by: Kerry McCarthy (Labour - Bristol East)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of (a) adding heavy goods vehicle drivers to the shortage occupation list and (b) issuing increased numbers of temporary visas to heavy goods vehicle drivers.

Answered by Kevin Foster - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

Heavy Goods Vehicle drivers do not qualify for Skilled Worker visas therefore cannot be added to the Shortage Occupation List.

There is no plan to introduce a new temporary visa for this sector to address recruitment problems. Some Trade Unions have recently agreed the issues affecting the haulage sector would not be solved by offering temporary visas and should focus on making pay and conditions more attractive for the domestic labour market.

While the Home Office regularly engages with other Government Departments and stakeholders on departmental business, the Department for Transport is leading the Government’s work on what can be done to support the sector.