T1.  Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood) (Con): If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Philip Hammond): Since I last answered Transport questions, the consultation on high-speed rail has closed. The Department has announced £155 million of investment from the first-round allocation of the local sustainable transport fund, concluded deals to put new carriages on key commuter rail routes, set out the next stages in the Department’s rail franchising programme and launched a consultation on proposals for new lane rental schemes to cut the number of rush-hour roadworks.
Mark Reckless: Many of my constituents who are not rich but were used as guinea pigs for RPI plus 3% by the last Government have no choice but to commute by coach, getting up at 5 or 6 am to get into London. Will Ministers welcome the statement by Southeastern yesterday that it will henceforth use the flex possibility to consider elasticities so that areas where people are not well off and where there is significant competition may see lower fare increases in future?
Mr Hammond: Absolutely. We are all in favour of competition. Train operators should note what is happening in the marketplace, and where coach operators are taking their business they should use the flexibility that they have to respond.