Put that the Opposition had said the Prime Minister was wrong at PMQs on fares, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) referred press to the Deed of Amendment to the Franchise Agreement dated 8th January 2010 which said it shall be amended with effect from midnight on the 1st January 2010 and the section that said from midnight on 1st January 2011, that amendment shall be reversed, so it was very clear in the agreement that it was for a single year.
Asked what was to stop the Government reviewing that agreement for another year, the PMOS said there would be a cost associated with that and. As the Prime Minister had said the money for the trains had to come from one of two places, the fare box or the taxpayer.
Put that the Government did face a choice, the PMOS said that obviously the Government had a role in the setting of fares and that fares were regulated. There was a cap and the Chancellor took the decision in the Autumn statement to reduce the cap. One of the choices we made in the Spending Review was to invest in the railways, and rail and transport investment was prioritised because they were important for economic growth.
Asked if the PMOS was saying that when Government came into office, that was written down somewhere as the policy and that the current Government was continuing that policy, the PMOS said it was clear that this additional flexibility was in place for one year only. Clearly there was a decision in the context of the Spending Review about how much money was invested in the railways and how you pay for the railways, and the balance between the taxpayer and the fare-payer.
Put that the paper was a red herring and that the Government had the decision to make, the PMOS said that it was not. Government accepted the policy and it was in place for one year.
Asked who signed the agreement, the PMOS replied that the agreement in front of him, with Stagecoach Southwestern Trains, had been signed on behalf of Lord Adonis.
Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news
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