Well done to my House of Commons office staff. Did you know:
– all the mail from far and wide has been replied to (email and land mail)
– the next batch of letters will also receive individual responses – every single one
That is about 500 extra letters over and above my heavy mail bag. Olly, Maggie, Fiona and Melissa will need a good Christmas and New Year break soon, when I hope the mail bag will shrivel up in size. Ann, on the diary front, and Wayne, in the constituency, have also been working overtime.
Here is my latest press release:
Following the recent publication of the Future of Rail White Paper, Alistair Darling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, has today announced the launch of the Government’s Community Rail Development Strategy. Fifty six lines have been proposed for Community Rail designation by the Strategic Rail Authority, the aim being to involve local authorities, users and community groups more and to double originating fare income from Community Rail services over a five-year period and to reduce subsidy per passenger by a half.
Commenting on this, Boris Johnson MP said:
“To designate the Henley-Twyford line a community railway is utter lunacy. I fully support involving local communities in the management of local railways and I believe that we must place these railways on a sustainable basis for the future. However, I fail to see how the Government can possibly relate the rhetoric of sustainability to the reality of funding cuts. This is an excuse to marginalise, downgrade and under-invest in important parts of the network.
“The Henley-Twyford line is a vitally important commuter route, not some little used rural line, and these cuts, despite the Government’s protestations to the contrary, are about nothing more than generating savings. It shows breathtaking hypocrisy on the part of the Government to be so keenly extolling the virtues of rail travel on the one hand whilst simultaneously reducing the subsidy available per passenger on the other.
“The only thing it is possible to say with certainty is that if this scheme were to go ahead, passengers would suffer, road congestion would increase and local residents would once again have had their views ignored by central Government. I will be fighting these proposals”.