Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 720 - 731)



  720. So it is change of attitude. No structural changes?
  (Mr Grant) There are areas which could be streamlined, including regulation, but the attitude and the approach to getting the job done is something which needs to be addressed at the same time as some of the structural issues.

  721. Should Government be more involved or less involved?
  (Mr Grant) Government has to be involved quite a lot because it is Government money which is being spent. The private sector does have a role to play and some good things have come out of privatisation. We should not try to change things which are working well, but we need to address things which are not working so well. That also has to come from an industry perspective.


  722. Forgive me saying this but some of your remarks have been so general as to be difficult to interpret. If there is a slimmed down organisation coming out of administration, if some of the powers of the Regulator are in some way trimmed, how do you see the future for the SRA?
  (Mr Grant) The SRA has to play a central role in taking the industry forward.

  723. Do you really genuinely have concrete plans which could be put to the industry which would not just concentrate on three of the objectives of the ten-year plan, but on all of them?
  (Mr Grant) We certainly want to widen the—

  724. Forgive me, I know what you might want to do. Are you going to be capable of doing it?
  (Mr Grant) There are elements of the strategic plan which are wider than the 50 per cent growth in passengers, freight and overcrowding; yes, there are. We need to focus on the instructions we are given by the Government.

  725. Do you interpret those instructions as being "Get on with the job in the South East and let the others follow along as the good Lord sends them"?
  (Mr Grant) Because there are major passenger movements in the South East a lot of money has to be spent, but I do not believe that is our sole focus. Our focus needs to be to provide a better passenger and freight network throughout the country.

  726. If you were not consulted on the form in which the administration order was made, why should you assume that your advice will now be taken by the Government about the company which comes out of administration?
  (Mr Grant) We are the body which can interpret the railway needs and translate it into structure going forward. I cannot comment on the process which took place up to 7 October.

  727. Had you given any warning to the Department about problems with Railtrack, particularly their ability to estimate how much individual projects were going to cost?
  (Mr Grant) That was very evident. Yes, we talked to the Department—

  728. No, forgive me. Would you say that again? Yes, you think it was very evident.
  (Mr Grant) It was very evident that Railtrack had difficulties in estimating projects.

  729. That was quite clear to you.
  (Mr Grant) That was quite clear to us.

  730. And to the rest of the industry.
  (Mr Grant) And to the rest of the industry.

  731. Did you discuss that with the Department before 23 October?
  (Mr Grant) We have discussed it many times with the Department before October, in addition to our difficulty in moving enhancement projects forward.

  Chairman: Thank you very much. You have been extremely helpful both of you and we shall allow you to escape.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 7 December 2001