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Covid-19: Support for the Rail Industry

Volume 688: debated on Thursday 28 January 2021

What financial support his Department is providing to the rail industry during the covid-19 outbreak. (911494)

The 2020 spending review provided a total of £10.1 billion of confirmed funding for the Department for Transport to support passenger rail services in England during the covid outbreak.

The service on both the Greater Anglia and c2c lines has been significantly cut during the latest lockdowns. Many constituents have contacted me to tell me that social distancing is near impossible on the few trains that are being run. Will my right hon. Friend assure me that enough money is being given to allow train operators to run a safe service?

My hon. Friend from nearly the city of Southend is absolutely right to mention the importance of keeping the right level of trains running. I mentioned that we funded £10.1 billion—an unprecedented amount—to keep these trains running during the covid crisis to make sure that essential workers can get to work. Of course people should not be travelling to work unless they cannot do that work from home. He will be interested to know that there have been discussions with Build UK and the Construction Leadership Council, particularly on that c2c line and concern about those trains coming into Canning Town. We will keep a close eye on this, and I have asked Sir Peter Hendy, the chair of Network Rail, to also work to ensure that we are alerted as soon as there are any signs of congestion and make sure that these lines can operate safely.