Department for Transport travel costs


DFTLast Monday Labour MP Andrew Gwynne asked the Government about their expenditure on travel for the Department for Transport over the last 4 years. It is not clear what was at the back of his mind in asking the question, however the answer had several areas of interest. His questions was “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much his Department has spent on (a) taxis, (b) first class train tickets and (c) business class air travel in each of the last four years.” The Minister who answered the question was Nusrat Ghani, the MP for Wealden here in Sussex. Her answer began with something of a spoiler which is quite disappointing: “It should be noted that it is not possible to make year-on-year comparisons over these four years due to significant changes in the way that the data requested is recorded, in particular due to a change in travel provider towards the end of 2015/16. The change in travel provider has also made it difficult to obtain a full set of data for 2015/16 and prior years without incurring disproportionate cost.”

One wonders how often the Government changes its providers of services and makes it easy to thereby dispense with accountability. However based on the rest of the answer from Nusrat Ghani and using the explanations to extrapolate the rest of the data the following information arises:

The expenditure of business class air travel has increased on an annual basis that is equivalent to 68% each year over the last 4 years. To be fair the major increase took place in the final year of the four year period where it more than doubled. The cost of first class train travel has diminished by an average of around 35% each year.

Perhaps now we have this data Andrew or one of his colleagues will take the time to ask why the air travel has grown by a factor of 5 in four years and the train travel has dropped by a third in the same period. It is clearly important to understand how well the Department of Transport understands the challenge of travelling by train, even if they do use our funds to pay for first class train fares? The overall cost based on these three elements has also trebled in those four years.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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