7 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Ghost Trains Add to GWR Chaos – Welsh Lib Dems
  • Davey: Govt needs to stop hitting people with higher energy bills
  • Vince Cable announces changes to top team
  • Lib Dem International Trade spokesperson slams Liam Fox for misleading House

Ghost Trains Add to GWR Chaos – Welsh Lib Dems

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised Great Western Railway (GWR) for ‘ghost trains’ after trains after 21:00 between London Paddington and Swansea for Monday to Thursday next week (11th-14th) disappeared from the timetable.

The tickets have been removed from the timetable so passengers are unable to buy them but the trains don’t appear as cancellations on GWR’s disruption information online.

This means the trains aren’t technically recorded as cancellations in GWR’s reporting to the Department for Transport (DfT) and so GWR aren’t penalised for it. However, not giving out passenger information is a breach of Rail Delivery Group (RDG) guidelines on passenger information during disruption.

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Baroness Randerson said:

The lack of publicity about this stealthy change to the late evening timetable could mean many regular travellers who don’t book specific trains could turn up at the station to find there is no train home that night.

These ghost trains are the latest in a long list of failures in recent years by GWR. Just days ago GWR was criticised in Parliament for ‘delays, overcrowding and ticket costs.’ Now we find out trains have been removed from timetables without telling anyone. This simply isn’t good enough.

Given GWR’s passenger satisfaction levels are the worst they’ve been in more than a decade, we’d expect GWR to be pulling out all the stops to improve services and keep passengers happy. Unfortunately this doesn’t appear to be the case. I call on GWR to urgently act to improve their passengers’ experience.

Earlier this week Assembly Members voted to call for the devolution of more powers and funding for rail to ‘deliver the railway the people of Wales deserve.’ We welcome the Assembly’s calls and urge the UK Government to devolve these powers at the earliest opportunity.

Davey: Govt needs to stop hitting people with higher energy bills

Responding to reports that more than half of households are set to see an increase in energy costs with Ofgem raising price caps, former Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:

The Conservatives introduced the price cap claiming it would save people money. But it was never going to do so, and it was inevitable that they would instead have to put the cap up at some point.

Now the truth on the price cap is clearer to people, the Government needs to stop hitting people with higher energy bills thanks to their policies.

Competition in the energy market is under threat due to this cap. Yet it is precisely that competition which has helped many more consumers reduce their energy bills than the cap.

Liberal Democrats believe people deserve better. We would take meaningful steps to promote more competition as the most effective way to slash energy bills, and we would roll out an energy efficiency programme to reduce energy bills for those in fuel poverty.

Vince Cable announces changes to top team

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has announced several changes to his top team of spokespeople.

Former leader Tim Farron will be taking over the Communities and Local Government spokesperson role, with Bath MP Wera Hobhouse moving to cover Energy and Climate Change.

Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine will now cover issues relating to Work and Pensions, with Jamie Stone taking on the Scotland brief. Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael will speak on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Commenting on the changes to the Liberal Democrat spokespeople, Vince Cable said:

I am pleased to announce today our new spokespeople who will speak out on the most important issues we face in Britain today.

While Parliament is consumed by Brexit, we need to remember that people are also affected by a whole host of other challenges.

We will continue to speak up for them as we continue our fight for the public to have a say on the Brexit deal with a People’s Vote.

Lib Dem International Trade spokesperson slams Liam Fox for misleading House

Following an exchange at International Trade questions today, during which Tom Brake sought assurances from the Secretary of State, Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, that he would provide Parliamentarians with a progress report on the trade deals the UK wants to roll over – a report Fox has already provided to key businesses – Tom has accused Fox of misleading MPs.

Tom explained in a later Point of Order to the Deputy Speaker, that contrary to Liam Fox’s assertion that he had dealt with this issue ‘extensively’ in the International Trade Select Committee hearing the day before, Tom, having viewed the hour long session, could confirm that the Secretary of State had provided no guarantees about making this progress report available. Indeed no reference was made to this progress report at all.

Tom Brake said:

It is clear that to save his embarrassment for the shocking lack of progress in rolling over these trade deals, Liam Fox has concocted a sham story about having dealt with the matter yesterday.

He is clearly one of the people Donald Tusk had in mind when he referred to Brexiters who promoted Brexit, with no plan for delivering it!

Tom added,

This could be another case of a Government in contempt, by providing information to third parties, but refusing to provide it to MPs.

In his Point of Order, Tom asked the Speaker how he could get the Secretary of State to correct the record and, more importantly, provide the information he was happy to share with business with Parliamentarians.

Tom has raised this issue with Ministers on a number of occasions, most recently in a letter dated 28th January 2019 (below).

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5 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Feb '19 - 2:06am

    As I just said I am not very left wing, the leftie in me wonders, is Ed, Sir Ed, against a price cap, because it leads to a price increase, not because that cap is increased, because of less competition?

    By this , surely, to cap food prices, would mean, sellers, competing as ever, offering to out bid for the custom, in effect, lower prices yet.

    Energy caps need not decrease competition. The consumer is free to seek lower prices if they are offered, which good competition should cause.

  • Our best set of by election results for ages last night.

  • Hibernian Liberal 8th Feb '19 - 11:16am

    As Theakes mentions a very encouraging night’s by election watching be it in Bradford, Berkshire (Evendons) or London. Also 8th February was last day of polling in the General Election of 1906, the last Liberal overall majority in the House of Commons. Hats off to CB!

  • David Warren 8th Feb '19 - 3:03pm

    Given that the issue of Assisted Dying made the news again yesterday and we have clear policy on it I would have liked to have seen something put out by the party.

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