Labour: Shapps ‘sold bus transformation, but is delivering managed decline’

Grant Shapps described the full amount of money being spent on buses as a ‘record never achieved before by any Government as far as I can see’.

Elizabeth Arnold
Thursday 03 February 2022 11:53
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps ‘sold bus transformation, but is delivering managed decline’, Labour has claimed (PA)
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps ‘sold bus transformation, but is delivering managed decline’, Labour has claimed (PA)

The Transport secretary “sold bus transformation, but is delivering managed decline”, Labour has claimed.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh argued ministers have “broken their promise” on “great” bus services and “slashed” funding.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps branded her comments “misleading”, adding the “figure is still £3 billion”.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh argued ministers have ‘broken their promise’ on ‘great’ bus services and ‘slashed’ funding (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Speaking during Commons transport questions, Ms Haigh said: “Last year the Prime Minister promised great bus services to everyone, everywhere, with £3 billion of new funding to support this.

“Yesterday we learnt the truth about the transformation funding, slashed by £1.8 billion. Why have they broken their promise and downgraded the ambition of communities?”

Mr Shapps responded: “She’s inadvertently misleading, because the figure is still £3 billion. The £1.2 billion is a part of that £3 billion and there are other elements of the funding which have already been announced, including half a billion on decarbonisation and more money on its way, so it’s simply an incorrect figure that I ask her not to continue to repeat.”

Ms Haigh said: “I’m not the one misleading anybody and we’ve got it in black and white.

“In a leaked letter from his own official who wrote to local transport authorities confirming the cut and said the scale of the ambition across the country greatly exceeds the amount of transformation funding…

“Will he come clean, admit vast swathes of this country will not get a penny in transformation funding and that he’s sold bus transformation, but is delivering managed decline?”

Mr Shapps replied: “No, that’s absolutely incorrect. It is false to claim that that £1.2 billion is the total funding, it is not. I will write to her with a detailed breakdown, but I do ask her to take into account the full amount of money being spent on buses, a record never achieved before by any Government as far as I can see.”

Mr Shapps told MPs the Integrated Rail Plan is “the biggest ever plan that any Government has ever announced” and is even bigger than the one just announced by US President Joe Biden.

Responding to Labour’s Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield), who pressed him on raising “standards and level up” in Yorkshire, Mr Shapps said: “Given that Huddersfield massively benefits from the £96 billon plan, the biggest-ever plan that any Government’s ever announced into railway funding, by the way bigger than the plan that President Biden just announced for railways in his package, even though they have a five-times bigger population, Huddersfield, I would have thought, would be celebrating in the streets.”

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