Bishop of Blackburn speaks in a debate on railway strikes

The Bishop of Blackburn spoke in a debate on railway strikes on 20th June 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, I want to try to take some of the vitriol out of the conversation, just for a moment, to ask the Minister a question. Considering the number of conversations that have been going on behind the scenes, which have not produced a result and have, therefore, not prevented the strike, has any thought been given to working on a really long-term plan—not just for the rail industry but for a number of other industries that are talking about some kind of industrial action? This would allow there to be some hope and clarity in the longer term rather than immediately just trying to resolve this issue at this moment. The longer-term plan could be a real help, if that could be talked about.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con): I completely agree with the right reverend Prelate and noble Lords will have the opportunity to quiz the Government on the longer-term plan as we bring the legislation forward to put it into place. The right reverend Prelate may have seen the Williams-Shapps plan for rail: it sets out exactly what we want to do with the railways. We are hugely ambitious for our railways; we are investing in our railways; we are reopening abandoned routes all over the country; we are electrifying lines all over the country; we are opening high-tech networks such as the Elizabeth line; we have HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail; and we are creating thousands of jobs, particularly, for example, in train manufacturing. But, as I said, you have to build a modern railway on firm foundations, and we have to get to the stage where there are firm foundations on which to build that modern railway.


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