Rail strikes: Grant Shapps says industry is ‘not badly paid’
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James Sunderland, MP for Bracknell, told Express.co.uk that it would also be a nice gesture to “hard-pressed families” and students. He urged the London Mayor to make the temporary measure, “especially as he appears not to have publicly condemned the strikes”.
Mr Khan previously said the strikes were “punishing” Londoners, but blamed the Government for “inciting” the industrial action.
From tomorrow, a series of walk-outs will take place across the UK’s rail network, promising to cripple Britain’s infrastructure.
Unions RMT and Unite called the strike over pay, conditions and job cuts.
Practically all the lines out of the capital are expected to be deeply impacted by the industrial action, with many running a heavily reduced service.
Many are planning on working from home during the strike days – as became the norm during the coronavirus pandemic – but many key workers will still have to travel into London.
A move to cut costs for motorists during the strikes appears to have won the backing of the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.
Mr Sunderland put the idea to him in the House of Commons last Wednesday, he noted that many of his constituents relied on the train network to commute into London.
He described the rail strikes as “just another cost on hard-working families” as the nation faces as the cost of living crisis following the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Shapps responded that “every possible alleviation [to the impact of the strikes] that can be made should be made.
He added that Mr Khan “will need to look at” the proposal.
Explaining further to this website, Mr Sunderland said today (Monday) that it was “impossible to tell” how many commuters from Bracknell would be affected by the strikes, which start tomorrow.
Bracknell residents can travel into London via two routes – the Farnborough line or the Reading/Guildford line – complicating the impact of the strikes.
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He commented: “Yes, no doubt some commuters will be able to weather the inconvenience by working from home.
“But many will not be able to, notably key workers, those without cars and those reliant on train travel, such as students and others still needing to get around.
“Waiving the congestion charge and ULEZ would be a decent gesture for those now having to drive into London as this just places more costs on hard-pressed families.
He added: “Hopefully Sadiq Khan will do the decent thing, especially as he appears not to have publicly condemned the strikes.
“As for all the others affected, the strikes are unlikely to go down well.”
When asked to comment, a spokesperson for Mr Khan placed the blame on the Government once again, noting the deep cuts it was forcing Transport for London (TfL) to make.
They said: “At the heart of this industrial action is the Government’s appalling approach to public transport across the country, not least its continued resistance to delivering the sustainable funding TfL desperately needs.
“With TfL expecting the capital’s roads to be more congested next week, it’s important people travel only if essential and the Mayor is calling on Londoners to cycle and walk whenever possible in order to reduce pollution and minimise congestion.”
Express.co.uk understands that TfL will be running an enhanced bus service during the strike.
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