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Transport Services to Isle of Wight

Volume 700: debated on Thursday 9 September 2021

5. What assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of imposing a public service obligation on vehicle and passenger services between the Isle of Wight and UK mainland. (903264)

We recognise the importance of this route. We will always keep route assessments under review, including if there is any evidence of market failure that requires intervention.

The Secretary of State knows that I hold him and his ministerial team in high regard. However, is it right that we have in the Isle of Wight ferry services a public service without any sense of public service obligation, and can the Minister tell me of a single example elsewhere in the United Kingdom where we have a true lifeline public service with no lifeline obligation attached to those services?

I thank my hon. Friend for that question. He is a long-standing advocate of improving the service for his constituents, and he and I have spoken about it on many occasions. He will of course know that service provision to the Island is a matter for the local council, working with service operators. None the less, the Government will continue to monitor the service on this route, and if there is anything he would like to discuss with me at any time he need only ask.