Monday 22 July 2019
Petition presented to the House but not read on the Floor
The petition of residents of the constituency of Colchester in Essex,
Declares that more money should be allocated to schools and colleges to ensure that every child in Colchester receives the education they deserve; notes that while Education funding has increased, the cost pressures on schools and colleges have increased at a faster rate and schools and colleges hare having to take difficult decisions that will impact on the education they are able to provide; further notes that schools need certainty of funding in order to set three year budgets.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to:
Allocate more money to schools and colleges.
Provide schools and colleges with at least a three year funding settlement to provide certainty.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Will Quince.]
Hull Paragon Station Gate
The petition of Residents of the United Kingdom,
Declares that it is wrong to restrict access to the only pick-up and drop-off point at Hull Paragon Station, by closing the Anlaby Road gates throughout the day; notes that for many disabled people, this is the only accessible route into the station (access to only disabled car parking spaces); further notes that First TransPennine’s suggestion that people should call a mobile number and wait to be admitted will result in (a) disabled people being left vulnerable while waiting to be admitted, (b) longer journey and waiting times and (c) disabled people being treated differently to able bodied people and calls on First TransPennine to provide unrestricted access to this point.
The petitioners therefore urge the House of Commons to put pressure on the Government to work with First TransPennine Express and provide unrestricted access to the only pick-up and drop-off point and disabled car parking spaces at Hull Paragon Station, by leaving the Anlaby Road gate open throughout the day.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Emma Hardy, Official Report, 9 July 2019; Vol. 663, c. 284.]
Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Ms Ghani):
The closure of the Anlaby Road gates is for a three-month trial which started on 17 June and will finish on 6 September, after which TransPennine Express (TPE) will assess whether the results of the trial justify extending the closure. TPE closed this gate to try and curb vandalism and antisocial behaviour in full consultation with, among others, the British Transport Police (BTP) and it was a BTP approved solution to at least carry out a three-month trial to see if this reduced vandalism and antisocial behaviour. TPE is assessing the results of the trial on a week-by-week basis and at the end of the trial, it will assess the results overall based on the evidence gathered.
Ultimately, though, it is the Government’s view that this is an operational matter for the station operator, TPE, to consider. The Anlaby Road exit/entrance at Hull Paragon station is not the only accessible route into and out of the Interchange. Passengers who have a disability or those who require extra assistance to use train/bus services and want to use the Anlaby Road exit/entrance can call the dedicated number which is clearly signposted and provided audibly at the entrance. TPE also provides full travel assistance for older and disabled customers. This can be arranged and booked at any time up to two hours before arrival/departure (if travelling from Hull to a TPE managed station) by calling TPE’s Assisted Travel Team on 0800 107 2149 or using an on-line booking form1.
The toilets at Hull Paragon station were rebuilt as new as part of a £1.6 million refurbishment and were opened last year. TPE is looking to expand the toilets and waiting room. This is currently going through the design process and is due to be built later this year. It has received funding of £90,000 for this project, which will be to a high anti-vandalisation specification. This work will start after a programme of works by the station operator has been carried out.
St Rollox Railway Works
The petition of Residents of Glasgow,
Declares that the permanent closure of St Rollox Railway Works would lose hundreds of well-paid jobs; further that the restoration of Garratt steam locomotive ‘Springbok’ which was originally built in Springburn and is currently decaying in the Summerlee Heritage Park, Coatbridge would provide an excellent project to maintain the workforce until a new operator for the site could be found; further that the restoration of a steam engine for heritage purposes would not engage state-aid restriction; further that there is a need for the UK and Scottish Governments to collaborate on finding a sustainable railway engineering use for the St Rollox Railway Works site to extend the current 160 years of industrial excellence and railway engineering in Springburn; further notes that signatures have been collected on another petition to save the St Rollox Railway Works.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to work with the Scottish Government to jointly financially support the restoration of the Garratt steam locomotive ‘Springbok’ and to use the time thus provided to identify a new operator to guarantee the future of the St Rollox Railway Works.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr Paul Sweeney, Official Report, 10 July 2019; Vol. 663, c. 412.]
Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Andrew Jones):
When the possible closure of the St Rollox works was debated in the House of Commons earlier this year, colleagues and I recognised the historical importance of the site, and agreed that the closure and associated job losses would have a significant impact on the local economy. I noted then the proposal that those with an interest in the site might find a new arrangement that allows continued operation at the site on a commercial basis and in the interest of all parties.
I recognise the importance of the rail supply chain. Thousands of individual companies have helped to deliver a safe railway with relatively high passenger satisfaction against the background of a doubling of passenger numbers since privatisation. These companies are also significant employers in the communities where they operate and make an important contribution to the UK economy.
Both delivery of rail services and economic development are devolved matters. I would encourage local partners to continue to work together to deliver a suitable outcome.