Last week at PMQs I had the opportunity to ask the PM about the ongoing anomaly where train operating companies are not obliged to pass on to passengers the compensation they receive from Network Rail when delays and cancellations are caused by problems on the line rather than of their own making.
Last year the TOCs received around £181million and yet the commuters received only £74million of it. While things have thankfully improved recently we know, from the experience with Southern, that passengers have not been receiving anything like a decent service or value for money, and problems have not surprisingly re-emerged with the recent cold snap. I proposed a much fairer compensation scheme as part of my previous Private Members Bill in 2016 along with a new Rail Ombudsman with teeth, which I am glad to say the Government is now setting up.
Great to see the work on the Grove Lodge roundabout underway after ward councillor Louise Murphy and I nagged Highways England to do something about the growing potholes which had given rise to so many complaints to us. The worst craters on the Hill Barn Lane corner have been resurfaced and there is now a proper yellow box hopefully making it easier for residents and drivers and leaving the college. The rest of the roundabout is due to be completed overnight over the next two weekends.
Last Friday I was delighted to welcome the new Ports Minister and Sussex colleague Nusrat Ghani to Shoreham Harbour to meet chief executive Rodney Lunn and the home team as well as representatives from the British Ports Association. The port is the UK’s number 30 and home to more than 1,600 jobs, dealing with more than two million tons of cargo a year. We had a good discussion about the prospects for British ports post Brexit and the need to use technology to clear cargos as speedily as possible and Shoreham is in a strong position to take advantage of it.
It was a busy weekend as I was delighted to be invited to relaunch one of the disability Sonar boats at the Sussex Yacht Club and met some of the impressive volunteers from the excellent charity Sailability.
Before this I joined local farmers and the NFU below Cissbury Ring to educate dog owners about the importance of keeping their animals under control around livestock.
Then on Sunday I was one of more than over 600 locals helping make Shoreham and Lancing beaches some of the tidiest around as part of the world’s biggest beach clean. Well done to the organisers for attracting such a large crowd despite the weather.
I will be at Shoreham Farmer’s Market as usual this Saturday from 9.30am together with Citizens Advice, who will be on hand to help constituents reduce their energy costs – so bring your bills with you.
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