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Portsmouth MP warns Conservatives are ‘misleading public’ over ticket office closures

By 14 September 2023No Comments

Stephen Morgan MP, newly appointed Shadow Minister of State for Rail, closed a Westminster Hall debate on rail ticket office closures, slamming the Government for its false claims and mixed messaging over the plans. 

Mr Morgan warned the Conservatives are misleading the public over ticket office closures, as key claims fall apart under scrutiny.   

Conservative ministers justified the proposals to close the majority of ticket offices in England with three key claims:   

  1. ‘No station currently staffed would become unstaffed’ 

But evidence from train companies, analysed by Labour show that thousands of staff hours will be lost with stations across the country becoming unstaffed.   

  1. ‘Staff will still be there to provide assistance and additional support for those who need and want it’ 

But operators have now admitted that ‘customers with disabilities may not receive assistances during the hours where staff presence is removed.’  

  1. And that the proposals weren’t about job losses with “the aim of these measures is to redeploy staff who are currently underutilised and who are not seeing the passengers that they used to.” 

But analysis of rail operator plans shows 2,300 station staff jobs are at risk.   

Following the debate, city MP Stephen Morgan said: 

“I know from my constituents, and my own experience commuting, the importance of rail ticket offices and the staff within them. They provide a vital service and support our most vulnerable in using our railways with confidence. 

Under the guise of ‘improving customer service’, the Government has once again attempted to push through another cost cutting measure on our railways which only serves to benefit the profit of private operators. 

People in Portsmouth and across are already suffering due to the chaos on our railways. Given the widespread opposition from all political stripes, I am urging the Government to rethink.” 

Commenting Shadow Transport Secretary, Louise Haigh MP said: 

“The key claims of Tory ministers are falling apart under scrutiny. 

It’s time they stop misleading the public, and come clean on the damage these closures will do. 

This is just the latest evidence that the Conservatives’ shambolic plan only risks excluding even more passengers from the railways. It’s time they think again.” 

Mr Morgan previously hosted an online meeting with constituents likely to be impacted by the decision to close rail ticket offices, to hear their concerns and views ahead of the consultation deadline. He has subsequently written to the Secretary of State for transport to raise these concerns and lobby him to rethink the decision.