Jonathan Reynolds MP

Serving the communities of Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley, Longdendale, and Dukinfield

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The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority have today published my annual claim for expenses for the financial year 2013 - 2014. The publication can be found here: http://parliamentary-standards.org.uk/AnnualisedData.aspx 

The figures published today include claims for running my parliamentary and constituency offices, for employing my staff and for rental of accommodation in London.

As the figures show, there was in increase in expenditure over the last 12 months compared to the previous year. This is due to a claim for additional staffing funds from IPSA to cover the long-term absence of a member of staff. All claims for contingency payments have been paid in line with Business Costs and Expenses Scheme guidelines which are published on an annual basis.

Published 11/9/04

Publication of Annual Expenses for 2013 - 2014

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority have today published my annual claim for expenses for the financial year 2013 - 2014. The publication can be found here: http://parliamentary-standards.org.uk/AnnualisedData.aspx  The figures published today...

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Stalybridge & Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds and High Peak MP Andrew Bingham have this week reassured local residents that a solution to the traffic problems between Mottram and Tintwistle is still very much on their agenda.

The pair spoke just after attending the latest meeting of stakeholders for the Trans-Pennine Feasibility Study in Sheffield. The study was set up last year following personal representations to the Chancellor, and a dedicated team of officials from the Highways Agency and Department for Transport have been working on it ever since.

As part of the Government’s Action for Roads strategy, the study is looking at congestion on the roads along the Trans-Pennine route - including the A57 through Glossop and the A628 through Mottram, Hollingworth and Tintwistle - and also looking at identifying potential solutions.

The work is now in its third and final stage and should report in time for the Chancellor's Autumn Statement later this year.

Speaking after the meeting, Jonathan Reynolds said:

“When I and Andrew Bingham first decided to work together on this in 2010 we were essentially told that we had no chance. The Highways Agency had officially ditched the plans for the Mottram-Tintwistle bypass and, as far as they were concerned, this wasn’t their problem anymore.

“Working together with our local council’s in Tameside and Derbyshire, we have spent the last few years lobbying Ministers and other MP’s to support us and we were delighted when the Government announced they would fund the feasibility study last year.

“What we have now is a clear indication that the Government is taking this problem seriously, and evidence of the disruption that the congestion in our areas causes throughout the Trans-Pennine corridor. We will have to wait and see what the final report proposes but it is clear we have come a long way since 2010.

"Whatever the outcome, solving the traffic problems in Mottram and Hollingworth will continue to be one of my main priorities, and I am determined to find a solution that will improve the quality of life for people in the area.”

Andrew Bingham said:

"On being elected back in 2010, one of the first things in my sights was a bypass for Tintwistle and a spur-road to Glossop. I have spent four years pestering the Chancellor and various Ministers about this issue and highlighting the major traffic problems, so I was pleased to finally see some movement earlier this year in the form of this feasibility study.

"At the latest meeting I was pleased to see the work that has been done on looking at all possible solutions and testing them against various criteria, and that these solutions will now be tested in greater detail.

"Whilst I don't know what the final report will say, I remain hopeful that it will officially confirm what we all know - that there is a major problem here - and I am also hopeful that it will propose real solutions for the Government to look seriously at."

Update on Trans-Pennine Feasability Study

Stalybridge & Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds and High Peak MP Andrew Bingham have this week reassured local residents that a solution to the traffic problems between Mottram and Tintwistle is...

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As I have reported previously, the Government has begun the process for the refranchising of train servicesw currently operated by Northern Rail and TransPennine Express, which serve all the stations throughout Hyde, Stalybridge, Longdendale, and Mossley.

To start that process the Government have issued a consultation document which sets out some of the guiding principles they want to include in the invitation tender, which will be issued in the near future.

I have made a submission to the consultation process which sets out my concerns about this initial document, and shares some of my priorities for rail services in our area.

The letter I have submitted as part of the consultation process can be read below:

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing in response to the Rail Executive’s stakeholder consultation document in relation to the Northern Rail and TransPennine Express rail franchises.

The fate of rail services in my constituency and throughout the region is a matter of great concern to me and something that I know is high on the list of priorities for both constituents and businesses alike. It is crucial that the franchises deliver the best possible services so as to ensure the greatest possible economic benefit for the region, and a high quality service for the passengers who rely on the railway on a daily basis.

The consultation document leaves me with some serious concerns about whether the Governments tender proposals will achieve those ends, and I know that these concerns are shared by transport campaigners and passenger groups throughout the region.

In my constituency of Stalybridge and Hyde many people’s experience of the railway is not overwhelmingly positive. I regularly hear complaints about overcrowded trains, old, poor quality carriages, and infrequent services with regular delays. Commuters at Stalybridge and Mossley stations don’t feel that there are currently enough services to meet the demand of their busy commutes, and there is unhappiness about the fact that when you do board some of these services you are unable to get a seat.

The consultation document seems to acknowledge many of these problems too but seems to insinuate that the only way they will be resolved is to increase fares, reduce the number of services and cut back on jobs. This does not seem to me to be a good deal for commuters in my area who already feel that they are not getting good value for money.

I agree that improving rolling stock needs to be a priority for the new franchises, especially on the services where outdated and overcrowded stock is still being used. Tackling this issue is crucial to ensuring that the services are able to cope with the predicted growth in passenger numbers and to improve passenger satisfaction for those already using them. Investment in rolling stock and stations is my overwhelming priority for the railway in my area.

Secondly, maintaining affordable fares for passengers using these services is crucial. The argument that fares need to be increased in line with the national average seems to avoid any explanation for why fares are below the national average in the first place. The reason that some fares are slightly lower is because services in the region benefit from much less investment than those in parts of the South, particularly London, and people here have, on average, lower incomes. If this logic was to be taken to its natural conclusion investment would have to increase substantially to justify the resulting fare increases.

My third major point of concern is regarding the proposals to reduce services on parts of the network. Whilst I’m glad that there is a consensus emerging on the need for new investment on the franchises it seems counter intuitive to bring in new money and then reduce services. For instance, I find it difficult to see how there could be an argument for reducing the number of calls at Stalybridge – particularly during in peak hours – and I would have serious concerns about passengers at more isolated stations such as Godley, and Flowery Field losing out from any push to reduce calls at smaller stations.

The only specific suggestion I would make regarding changes to the individual services that serve my constituency would be to increase the number of night time services to and from Manchester city centre. If some flexibility over timetabling is going to be devolved to the operators as part of the new franchises then this could be rearranged to suit demand as long as a final service was guaranteed on each of the services.

In conclusion, I am clear on the need for new investment, particularly in infrastructure and rolling stock, and am keen to explore the possibilities on how this can be done. I want to ensure that passengers in my constituency receive a service that continually improves and benefits from greater connectivity as a result of increased investment across the network. I look forward to engaging in this discussion throughout this process and am keen to hear the Government’s comments on the consultation responses.

Yours sincerely,

 

Jonathan Reynolds MP  

Rail North Consultation: My Response

As I have reported previously, the Government has begun the process for the refranchising of train servicesw currently operated by Northern Rail and TransPennine Express, which serve all the stations...


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