Speech

Red Tape Challenge rail sector

Theresa Villiers hosted a Red Tape Challenge stakeholder summit and urged the industry and passengers alike to contribute to the debate.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers

To help encourage economic growth, the government has pledged to cut unnecessary red tape. Transport Minister Theresa Villiers hosted a Red Tape Challenge stakeholder summit and sector champions Graham Smith, Secretary, The Rail Delivery Group, and Anthony Smith, Chief Executive, Passenger Focus urged the industry and passengers alike to contribute to the debate.

Red Tape Challenge rail sector

Transcript

Voice over: To help encourage economic growth, the government has pledged to cut unnecessary red tape. And this is your chance to contribute to the debate on the Rail Red Tape Challenge as Transport Minister Theresa Villiers explained at a recent stakeholder summit.

Theresa Villiers: This is going even further than placing a constraint on new red tape. We’re looking at the existing stock of regulations and the presumption is we’re looking to scrap them unless their continued existence can be justified.

And we’re introducing the red tape challenge as the way to engage extensively with industry, stakeholders, professionals and, hopefully, with the wider public as well, to help us do this rigorous audit of our existing stock of regulations.

Voice over: Poorly thought out or badly implemented regulations can impose unnecessary costs on industry, passengers, and ultimately the taxpayer. The Rail Delivery Group, which speaks for Britain’s rail industry, fully supports the red tape challenge as its Secretary, Graham Smith, explains.

Graham Smith: The rail industry is heavily regulated, in some cases for very good reason, to maintain the industry’s excellent safety record. But in other cases, with 150 years of history, seem to have gathered dust. Unless the industry, the modern industry in the 21st century, sometimes battling against out of date regulations in whether buildings, building infrastructure or building rolling stock or operating trains and stations, there just seem to be an awful lot of rules and regulations that make it very difficult to operate and efficient railway. Passengers gain, freight shippers gain from reduced cost of the industry. If we can bring down industry costs then there’s a choice for government here. There’s a chance to reduce the amount of money the taxpayer has to put in, reducing fares for the passenger and freight shipper or putting in investment in order to achieve the significant growth that is forecast for the rail industry over the next 20 to 30 years.

Voice over: Passenger Focus, the independent public body set up by the government to protect the interests of passengers, believes it’s vital for the passengers’ voice to be heard as well. Chief Executive Anthony Smith explains.

Anthony Smith: The rail industry is heavily regulated for quite good reason. It’s largely a monopoly industry, passengers don’t have a choice which train company they can use or not. There’s quite a lot of rules and regulations, some of those date back years, they could probably do with a look at, but if they’re sensible and giving consumers protection, it’s cost effective just to keep them. Passengers must really get involved with these sorts of debate because if government asks for your opinion and you don’t give it, you can’t complain about the result. So its important passengers, even if it’s a short comment, put something in.

Voice over: Which regulations are well designed and provide vital protection? Which are badly designed, badly implemented or simply a bad idea? Share your view by joining the debate on the red tape challenge website by Thursday 15th December.

Published 9 December 2011