Andrew Jones – Statement on South-Eastern Rail Franchise

Below is the text of the statement made by Andrew Jones, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 23 April 2019.

In June 2017, the Department for Transport announced that the shortlisted bidders for the south-eastern franchise competition were: South Eastern Holdings Ltd; London and South East Passenger Rail Services Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Govia and the current incumbent; and Stagecoach South Eastern Trains Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stagecoach Group plc.

Subsequently, in December 2018, the Department exercised an extension with the existing south-eastern operator, London and South Eastern Railway, until 23 June 2019 to allow further time for the competition to identify the next operator for the franchise. The Department is now in the process of negotiating a further direct award which, subject to a successful negotiation, will run until 10 November 2019, with an option to extend the agreement until April 2020. We are taking these steps to ensure continuity of services for passengers. This additional time is necessary to deliver the best possible outcome for passengers and taxpayers alike. We will update the House in the usual way as soon as this work is concluded.

Andrew Jones – 2019 Statement on East Midlands Rail Franchise

Below is the text of the statement made by Andrew Jones, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 11 April 2019.

On Wednesday 10 April, it was announced that Abellio is the successful bidder to operate the east midlands rail franchise and will be responsible for delivering new trains, smart ticketing and more frequent services for passengers. Passengers in the east midlands are to get new trains, more peak-time services, reduced journey times and over £17 million of station improvements as Abellio takes over the franchise from August 2019.

Abellio will invest £600 million in trains and stations between August 2019 and 2027, while the Government continue with their £1.5 billion upgrade to the midland main line—the biggest upgrade to the line since it was completed in 1870. This is part of the Government’s £48 billion investment to modernise our railways over the next five years.

As we informed the House in yesterday’s written statement, Abellio was awarded the contract “following rigorous competition.” It was a fair, open competition and Abellio provided the best bid, in which it demonstrated that it will not only meet but exceed the Department’s specifications.

Stagecoach chose to put in a non-compliant bid, which resulted in its disqualification, in line with the terms of the published invitation to tender. That said, Stagecoach has played an important role in our railways, and we hope it will continue to do so after the conclusion of the rail review. However, it is entirely for Stagecoach and its bidding partners to explain why it decided to ignore established rules by rejecting the commercial terms on offer.

Andrew Jones – 2018 Statement on Crossrail

Below is the text of the statement made by Andrew Jones, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 10 December 2018.

The government, the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) have today (10 December 2018) confirmed a financing package to deliver the final stages of the Crossrail project and open the Elizabeth line to passengers.

Crossrail Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL, announced in August 2018 that the opening of the Elizabeth line through central London would be delayed. Work is ongoing to identify the remaining works required to complete the infrastructure and then commence the extensive testing necessary to ensure the railway opens safely and reliably. Crossrail is a nationally significant infrastructure project which will add up to £42 billion to the UK economy and will transform travel in, to, and across London.

The government remains committed to the rapid completion of the project, in a way that is fair to UK taxpayers, and that enables London – as the primary beneficiary of Crossrail – to bear the additional costs. Independent reviews into Crossrail Ltd’s assessment of ongoing funding requirements and governance arrangements are being undertaken by KPMG to ensure the right scrutiny and oversight are in place as the project enters its final phase.

The emerging findings of the KPMG reviews into Crossrail Ltd’s finances indicate the likely range of additional capital cost due to the delayed opening of the central section could be in the region of between £1.6 billion and £2 billion. That includes the £300 million already contributed by the Department for Transport and TfL in July 2018, leaving between £1.3 billion and £1.7 billion to cover the predicted additional costs of the project.

The government, the Mayor of London and TfL have agreed a financial package to cover this. The Department for Transport will provide a loan of up to £1.3 billion to the Greater London Authority (GLA). The GLA intend to repay this loan via London’s Business Rate Supplement (BRS) and from the Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy (MCIL). The GLA will also provide a £100 million cash contribution, taking its total contribution for this package to £1.4 billion.

As the final costs of the Crossrail project are yet to be confirmed, a contingency arrangement has also been agreed between TfL and the Department for Transport. The Department for Transport will loan TfL up to £750 million in the event that further finance is required for the project.

This combined financing deal will replace the need for the £350 million interim financing package announced by the Department for Transport in October 2018.

The combined total of the financing arrangements outlined above, means that the overall funding envelope for the project is now £17.6 billion.

Crossrail Ltd appointed Mark Wild as CEO on 19 November 2018. Mark is now conducting an extensive review of the remainder of the programme and will provide clarity in the new year on the opening date of future phases. Crossrail Ltd are working to establish a robust and deliverable schedule to open a safe and reliable railway. This will also provide greater clarity on the level of additional funding required.

Furthermore, both the Department for Transport and TfL have recommended to the Crossrail Ltd board that they appoint Tony Meggs as Chair. Tony Meggs was previously Chief Executive of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and Head of government’s Project Delivery Function, following a 30 year career in the private sector leading major projects at global, regional and local levels.

To further strengthen the Crossrail Ltd Board, the Department for Transport have accepted TfL’s nomination of Nick Raynsford as Deputy Chair. Nick is a former MP and served as Minister for London on two occasions between 1997 and 2003.

Andrew Jones – 2017 Speech at North East Economic Forum

Below is the text of the speech made by Andrew Jones, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, at the North East Economic Forum on 22 September 2017.


Good morning everyone. It’s great to be here in Gateshead today.

This was an area I used to come to regularly when I was growing up.

I’m not actually from the North East – I’m a Yorkshireman born and bred – to the point where I even spent part of my career working for Yorkshire Tea!

But we used to head up the A1 to play the local rugby teams here.

And what’s been fascinating to see is just how much this whole region has changed over the decades.

Now when you head up the A1, you’re welcomed by that great show of Northern pride – the magnificent Angel of the North.

You see the world’s first ever tilting bridge crossing the Tyne to join two vibrant, modern cities.

You see the curved glass of the fantastic Sage Gateshead drawing visitors from across the world.

And you come to the Baltic centre as we have today – and you don’t find an old flour mill, you find a contemporary arts value of international renown.

It’s certainly changed a fair bit over the years.

Former glories

These are all visible signs of what’s been happening in this area – and I think in cities across the North the confidence and self-belief has returned, and is growing.

I don’t want to focus too much on the glories of the past.

But the fact is that there was a time when our Northern cities didn’t just lead the UK forward – they led the world. When George Stephenson built the first ever public steam railway to take coal between Stockton and Darlington.

When Charles Parsons was developing the steam turbine in Newcastle which revolutionised transport and energy.

When Harry Brearly found a way to make stainless steel – or rustless steel as it was called initially – down in Sheffield.


I’m admittedly biased as a Northerner myself.

But the way I see it, our Northern cities used to be the drivers of this country’s economic, scientific, and social progress in the 19th century.

That’s something that fell away badly in the 20th century as these once powerful cities were allowed to fall into decline.

And now what we want for the 21st century is to recover that ground and see their resurgence.

That’s what we’re talking about in government, when we talk about our Northern Powerhouse.

It’s not a short term project with budgets attached on skills or transport.

It’s an idea, an ambition and a promise.

It is a long term government commitment that we will restore our Northern cities to their former place at the vanguard of the UK’s economy.


Earlier this month, my colleague at the Treasury, Philip Hammond spoke for the whole of government when he made it clear that the Northern Powerhouse isn’t some flash in the pan government project.

It’s an economic imperative that is, will remain, and must be at the very top of our agenda.

And it’s not just about cities like Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds.

It’s the North as a whole – it’s Newcastle, it’s Sunderland, it’s Gateshead, it’s Hull.

It’s every Northern town and city that has unlocked, untapped potential.

Both to offer a better life for the people who live there – with great jobs, great transport, great attractions adding to all the natural appeal these areas already have in spades.

But as well as improving the quality of lives here, it’s also about fulfilling the potential of the North East – and North West and Yorkshire and the Humber too – to really power our national economy forwards as was once the case.

To drive our scientific advances.

To make our cultural mark on the world stage.

Lots to offer

Now in many ways, we can see these things happening already.

The Great Exhibition of the North that will be held here next year is all about showcasing our world-class art, culture and innovation – both past and present. I understand Stephenson’s Rocket built in Newcastle is going to be on display.

There also remains a powerful tradition of manufacturing here in the North East – particularly in terms of chemicals, metals and transport equipment.

Particularly of course in cars. The automotive industry is very important in the UK and is a real speciality of this region.

Sunderland’s Nissan plant alone produced almost 30% of all UK-built cars last year, and builds more cars than Italy.

And this is a region with a global reputation for life sciences too. Newcastle’s Centre for Life is at the helm of that – not only bringing talented researchers together, but also inspiring our next generation of young scientists with their exhibitions and events.

So I was pleased to see it get a funding boost just this month of £2.6 million from the Business Department and Wellcome.

Beyond its manufacturing and scientific prowess, this a great place to invest. Last year, foreign investment in the North East created more jobs relative to the working age population than any other region outside London.

And we saw a faster increase in the number of businesses operating in the North East than anywhere else in the country.

Since 2010, nowhere in the country has seen bigger productivity gains than we’ve seen here in the North East. Unemployment has fallen most here.

And pay has risen most – an average of 11.5% higher than 2010.

The issues

But in celebrating what this region has to offer, and has achieved, I won’t gloss over the issues.

It’s the problems that this government is working on.

For example, I just mentioned pay rising here – but we also have to remember that earnings here are still a fair way under the UK average.

That’s to be expected when hand-in-hand with that, we have 27% per cent of the population aged 16 and over with no formal qualifications, the second highest rate for any English region.

And despite having some of the best universities in the country, the North East itself has far fewer graduates than the UK average – with just over 31% compared to 38%.

Productivity is another case in point.

Good gains have been made here, but there remains a prominent productivity gap – 12% compared to the UK average and 33% behind London.

Some good things, but some real challenges.

So what can be done to start to turn these things around?

In short, we need two things.

A North that’s ambitious and empowered to lead the way.

And a government that’s prepared to back it all the way.


Now on the former, we’ve been undertaking the biggest transfer of power away from Westminster to English regions in living memory.

Only a few months ago, six mayors were elected in England – three of which were in the North – Ben in Tees Valley, Andy in Manchester and Steve in Liverpool.

I was saddened to learn last year that the North East would not be electing a mayor, but I understand and respect local leaders’ decisions in this area.

However, government was clear at the time that we would continue to work with those authorities committed to devolution and we’re having constructive discussions with the North of Tyne authorities on a potential deal and conversations all over the country on what can be done.

Each of the new Mayors has unprecedented powers and funding for local priorities such as transport, planning and skills.

These will make a real difference tackling issues locally and for helping to address the productivity challenge our economy faces.

I’m looking forward to working with these great regional ambassadors and seeing what we can achieve together.

Government backing

1. Connectivity

But it’s not just about what local leaders and businesses can do.

Because as I said, the second thing that’s needed is a government that is active in backing you.

A clear example of that is when it comes to improving connectivity.

I could be biased. I spent several years as a transport minister. But connectivity matters.

That’s both about ease of movement between places – which doesn’t just make people’s lives easier, it helps businesses win investment and save money too.

But it’s also about digital connectivity too – and it’s really important that in this new era of information, the North East, and North more generally, is well connected.

I know from first-hand how much that matters for businesses and families – there are still villages and homes in my own constituency in Yorkshire that can’t get mobile reception let alone high-speed broadband.

So that requires serious investment from the government and that’s what we’ve been focused on.

This year, for example, I launched a Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund to improve the UK’s internet connections.

And we’ve already started to deliver full fibre in the North East through the Superfast Programme – with potential for much more through our £200 million Local Full Fibre Networks programme.

And on transport links, there’s a huge amount going on. Over 20 schemes in the North East will receive investment from the £380m allocated to the region from the Local Growth Fund.

Just today, the first phase of upgrading the A1 between Leeming and Barton is opening – with the full road due for completion this winter. When fully complete this will create a motorway standard route between London and Newcastle for the first time.

But effective transport means a lot more than just creating motorways. We are investing in our major ‘A’ roads too, such as the improvements to the A19 at Testos and Downhill Lane in South Tyneside, and between Norton and Wynyard in Stockton-on-Tees. We are also making further improvements to the A1 at Newcastle and south of Gateshead – all of these will help to speed up so many daily journeys.

And we are investing in local roads too. We’ve provided £21 million towards the Morpeth Northern Bypass, the last section of the A1 to South East Northumberland link road. This will relieve congestion to Morpeth, and improve links to development sites in the area. We are not buying tarmac and bridges just because we like them. We are buying opportuniry and access across these areas.

There’s also the Great North Rail project – in the next five years, well over £1 billion will be spent operating, renewing, enhancing and maintaining the rail infrastructure across the North of England.

This will dramatically improve journeys for passengers across the North. There will be more and faster services across the region, including between Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool.

By 2020 all the trains will be brand new or completely refurbished, and all the Pacer trains will be gone.

And train manufacturing has also returned to the North East. There are now over 1,000 staff and apprentices at the Hitachi site in Newton Aycliffe, producing state-of-the-art modern intercity trains. The first of these trains will be in use on the Great Western line from this Autumn.

I first came to visit this site when it was a green field.

2. Industry support

Beyond connectivity, it’s about supporting our industries as the future marches on.

We’re working on a modern industrial strategy to do just that.

But meanwhile, we’re making good progress in key areas for the region.

As I’ve already said, life sciences is real strength in the North East.

And we’re working with the leading immunologist and geneticist, Sir John Bell on how we support the life sciences sector. The industry-led Life Sciences Industrial Strategy was published at the end of August. We are now working with Sir John and others in the sector to agree an ambitious Sector Deal – with offers and asks on each side of the table.

We’ve also made a substantial real terms increase in government investment in Research and Development – an extra £2 billion a year by the end of this Parliament. This will include funds targeted at cutting edge healthcare and medicines.

And here in the North East, we’ve allocated £8.6 million from the Local Growth Fund to the Life Sciences Incubation hub. This hub, the product of a collaboration between Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council, will take forward the LEP’s ambition to develop a life sciences super cluster for the North East – with significant new facilities for research, and space for science-based businesses.

And we are investing now in our manufacturing capacity Nearby, Redcar is home to the headquarters of the £100 million Centre for Process Innovation, part of our High Value Manufacturing Catapult network.

We’re investing half a billion in advanced propulsion technology.

And just nearby – in fact, I’m going to go and take a look this afternoon – there’s the International Advanced Manufacturing Park – where £75m of publicly funded infrastructure will support a predicted £400 million of private sector investment, and the creation of over 5,000 jobs across the advanced manufacturing and automotive sectors.

The point that I’m trying to make is that government is serious about investment in our scientific and industrial development, which is so central to this region’s economy.

3. Skills

And the third and final factor I’ll mention today, is what we’re doing on skills.

Because let me take you back to that stat I gave you earlier.

27% per cent of over-16s in the North East having no formal qualifications.

Which means lower wages, and less opportunity and freedom to live the lives people want.

So it really matters that we make a big difference here – not only for people on an individual level, but for our businesses which rely on their talents to succeed.

I think this is an issue for the UK as a whole but particularly where we are.

So we’ve got a lot of work going on here.

We’re completely reforming technical education for a start – we need to see bright people coming through who can work in the advanced industrial roles the 21st century needs.

We’re really pushing apprenticeships – again to give people the skills businesses need, and we’ve done a lot of work with employers to make them really useful, stretching training opportunities.

I hope that the many fantastic businesses in the North East that already take on apprentices – from Hodgson Sayers in the construction and manufacturing sector to Sage Gateshead in the creative – will lead really lead the way as business and Government works together to deliver 3 million apprenticeship starts in England by 2020.


So there is a lot of action happening to lay the foundations for that Northern resurgence.

The Northern Powerhouse is about cultural aspiration but the policies around devolution and transport and skills will help.

And the thing to stress is that this isn’t a one-sided venture.

This isn’t a bunch of politicians in Westminster laying down the law.

And I don’t think it would be.

This is a team effort.

This is about government, business, and local authorities across the North all working together.

And the message I want to end with here in Gateshead is this:

It will take hard work.

It will take investment.

It will take ambition.

It will take partnership and collaboration.

But the North East can once again be the engine of the UK’s economic, scientific and cultural progress.

Let’s not lose any opportunity to see that happen.

Andrew Jones – 2017 Speech at Offshore Europe Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Andrew Jones, the Exchequer Secretary, to the Offshore Europe Conference in Aberdeen on 5 September 2017.

It’s great to join you all in the Granite city for my first Offshore Europe conference – and many thanks to SPE for inviting me along here today.

Our thoughts are inevitably with the people of Houston, Aberdeen’s sister city at this time.

The links between the two cities and their people have been forged through this industry.

So I know I speak for everyone here in wishing them strength in the days and weeks ahead.

For now, let’s return to the focus of this conference, which is to look to the future of this industry.

And what I want to do is contribute to those discussions and shed some light on the government’s perspective on an industry of such importance to the UK’s economy.


Our starting point, then, is one of real optimism.

Undoubtedly, this has been a challenging time for the industry – we all recognise that.

And that’s not just been our experience here in the UK – though we of course have our own challenges with such a mature basin.

But these have been challenging times the world over for the oil and gas industry, its workers and their families.

Here in the UK though, we’ve responded strongly.

The government has taken unprecedented measures to back the UK’s industry – with over £2 billion of support in the last couple of years – boosted further by an already competitive tax and business environment.

We’ve also been pleased to see the industry itself responding so effectively to difficult conditions.

The progress you’ve achieved in terms of improving efficiency and competitiveness has been impressive as we’ve seen operating costs come tumbling down in this time.

Over the last couple of years, the average cost for a barrel has almost halved – from around $30 to $15.

Those are productivity gains I’d like to see all our industries making in Britain!


What we’ve seen more recently, therefore, has been encouraging signs of growing confidence.

We started the year with asset and corporate deals worth almost $4 billion.

And high profile deals investing in the UK Continental Shelf have continued to be announced since then.

But as confidence returns, there is still no room for complacency – in industry, or indeed in government.


That’s why I’ve come here today to confirm – once again – our commitment to this sector.

The principles we set out for the UK’s oil and gas fiscal regime – in our paper Driving Investment – they are principles that remain firmly in place.

Because we fully understand the importance of certainty and predictability in the taxes you pay. You can expect a competitive and stable environment in which to plan your investments.

And, as we promised in the Spring Budget, we are investigating whether we can make our tax system better to encourage investment in our older oil and gas assets. I am talking about transferable tax history here.

We will be reporting back in a few months’ time at the Autumn Budget.

But it is worth pausing on the age of our basin in the UK, because that clearly brings challenges, as well as opportunities.

There is, of course, still a lot of life left in the UK Continental Shelf.

With up to 20 billion barrels still to be recovered, we still need to get new investment coming in.


But we must also recognise that the UK is a mature basin, and decommissioning will feature much more heavily in its future.

We’ve already seen around 10% of North Sea facilities decommissioned.

Over the next decade we’re set to see another 100 offshore platforms fully or partially removed, and 1,800 wells plugged.

And such a clean up mission will come at some cost.

Earlier this year, the Oil and Gas Authority produced a new estimate of how much it might be in total – around £60 billion between now and the 2050s.

Bringing the Costs Down

That amount won’t all need to be found by the industry – we estimate about £24 billion will be met by the Exchequer through ‘decommissioning tax relief’.

So we have a shared goal in making sure those costs fall further!

The Oil and Gas Authority has set an ambitious target to bring the total cost down to less than £39 billion.

That will call for big changes to the way we do things – with better skills and more innovation and technological advances.

But we’ve already seen what the industry can do in making big efficiency gains.

And we’re also seeing our top academic and training centres rallying to meet this challenge.

Over the last half a century, they’ve been instrumental in training generation after generation of skilled experts for the industry, and working hand in hand with the sector to research tomorrow’s technologies.

Now we’re seeing them lead the way in decommissioning – with Aberdeen’s new Oil and Gas Technology Centre teaming up with Aberdeen University and Robert Gordon University to set up a dedicated Decommissioning Solution Centre.

This multi-million pound venture will bring together academic researchers with industry and business experts to build new expertise, research new technologies and support a world-class supply chain that can help meet the global demand for decommissioning.

Window of opportunity

This joint effort between industry and academia is so important.

Right now we have a huge window of opportunity to become pioneers in decommissioning.

We were the first to try new technologies and methods to overcome the inhospitable waters of the North Sea, so many decades ago.

Now, as the North Sea becomes the first major production basin in the world to reach maturity and start large scale decommissioning, we have the chance to once again make ourselves the go-to global experts.

That means thousands of highly-skilled job opportunities, it means export opportunities, and it means British businesses taking their place in a worldwide, world-class supply chain.

The North Sea decommissioning industry is already worth £2 billion a year – I hope we’ll start to see that grow rapidly and I know that ideas about how we do that and make our mark on the global stage will be a big part of this conference.


So thank you all for listening – and if there are two things I hope you take away from what I’ve said today, it’s first that the government remains fully committed in its support of the UK’s oil and gas industry.

But second, that we’re excited about the opportunities for its future.

I wish you all a good conference.

Andrew Jones – 2016 Speech on Road Safety


Below is the text of the speech made by Andrew Jones, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, at the National Safer Roads Partnership on 27 September 2016.


Good morning everyone and thank you Adam for that introduction.

It’s a real pleasure to be here and to be part of an event that brings together so many distinguished experts and professionals.

Everyone is dedicated to a common cause of making Britain’s roads safer and it’s a job you do incredibly well. We focus so much on the number of fatalities and injuries on the road network, none of us will ever know precisely how many lives are saved each year through prevention.

Through police enforcement, dedicated road safety specialists within local authorities and your efforts, we can be sure that it’s a very significant number.

That’s why we in government so value what you do and why we want to help you do your jobs as effectively as possible.

Indeed, we have a manifesto commitment to reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads every year and 9 months ago, we published our Road safety statement, setting out the government’s priorities for improving safety over this parliament.

It included:

– adopting the safe systems approach to reduce the severity of collisions so more people survive

– protecting vulnerable road users, from pedestrians and cyclists to horse riders, motorcyclists and younger drivers

– taking tough action against those who speed, exceed the drink-drive limit, take drugs or use their mobile phone while on the road
promoting connected and autonomous vehicle technologies in a way that maximises safety

– preparing new motorists for the road through better driver testing and training

– enabling the police to use modern enforcement technologies, while protecting the privacy of law-abiding people

We also pledged to work more closely with stakeholders like the insurance industry and employers and to support further devolution of road safety policy.

Altogether the Road Safety Statement detailed 47 actions which we are delivering with you and the broader road safety sector.

How much progress has been made?

We’ve already provided £1 million for police forces in England and Wales to support drug-driving enforcement. This has been backed up in March by the launch of the THINK! drug driving campaign which sends a clear message to the public.

We’re not just going after the utterly irresponsible minority who drive after taking drugs but also warning those who might consider it in the future that the consequences will be very serious indeed.

This was groundbreaking work.

Today I’d like to thank police forces around the country for making it such a success. Elsewhere, we’ve helped local authorities introduce safer traffic signalling and signage and we’ve recently announced new arrangements for our RAIDS collision research programme.

Specialist teams attend the scene of road incidents minutes after they’ve occurred to gather vital evidence.

Phase 1 saw over 1200 collisions investigated and the findings have already proved vital. We’ve also launched several consultations to ensure that road safety keeps pace with changing technology. These include:

– mobile phone penalties

– changes to the driving test

– connected and autonomous vehicles

– Using electronic devices while driving

The use of a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel increases the likelihood of a collision 4-fold and It’s a growing problem.

In January, we launched a consultation proposing increased fixed penalties for phone use while driving and we talked about increases from £100 and 3 penalty points to £150 and 4 penalty points and 6 for lorry drivers.

However, such is the threat posed by mobiles that we now plan to go further with much tougher penalties for motorists using their devices while driving whether calling, texting, or using an app.

We are also developing a THINK! campaign to drive home the message.

You might not be the sort of driver to speed, or drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol but the simple act of glancing down at your mobile phone to send a text at the wheel can be just as dangerous.

We expect to introduce new sanctions in the first half of 2017.

Younger drivers

We also want to improve safety of younger and novice drivers.

In fact, around 1 in 5 new drivers are involved in a crash within 6 months of passing their test and following a trial, the DVSA has run a consultation on making sure the driving test reflects today’s driving conditions.

As a result, the proposed new driving test will include a longer period of independent driving and more realistic manoeuvres and a requirement for the driver to follow directions from a sat nav, and answer questions at the wheel.

Connected and automated vehicles

Another consultation came from the Centre for Connected and Automated Vehicles (CCAV).This new technology promises to profoundly change the way we travel – making road transport not just smoother and smarter, but safer too. After all, 90% of collisions involving some form of human error.

With automated vehicles in their infancy, we need to avoid regulating too soon or too far so the consultation set out proposals for reforming regulation to support the introduction of these technologies.

We will publish the outcomes shortly. And there will be more to come.

Accuracy and relevance of evidence

Like much road safety work, progress depends on the accuracy and relevance of evidence.

Highway authorities, police forces, educators and campaigners spend hundreds of millions of pounds a year on road safety in Britain.

And everyone in this room will recognise the critical importance of evidence in getting these decisions right.

This is why we as a government put so much value on police-recorded collision data and we know how much time and work goes into collecting and validating it.

One of our concerns in recent years is whether it’s sufficiently accurate or timely and that’s why £7 million has been invested to create CRASH. This is a common platform for police forces to collect and process collision data and we already we are seeing the benefits.

The average delay between a collision occurring and data arriving at the Department for Transport (DfT) has dropped from around 80 to 30 days. This means highway authorities can respond to problems more quickly.

The use of mapping as part of the data entry can also reduce the number of incorrectly plotted collisions meaning that authorities are less likely to waste valuable funds.

New information about the type of injuries victims are suffering will help improve road safety policy.

CRASH is not yet perfect but we will continue to work with you to understand how it could be made better and to improve the quality of data.

Management capacity review

Finally, to join all this together, we hope soon to start our ‘management capacity review’ which we will look across the road safety industry to identify areas for improvement.

It’s crucial that the sector has the capability to strengthen the evidence-base, and ensure that road safety interventions really deliver and bring down the number of road deaths and injuries.

That’s what the review will accomplish.


So the road safety landscape is changing, technology is changing and techniques are changing.

We have to change if we want Britain to retain its reputation for road safety excellence.

Pushing to improve everything we do.

Focusing our attention on all the areas covered by the ‘safe systems’ approach, from safer roads and vehicles to gathering better evidence.

I’m absolutely confident that we have the right strategy. I’m absolutely confident that we have the most professional and dedicated road safety industry in the world and I’m absolutely confident that together, we can continue reducing the number of road collision victims in this country.

Thank you.

Andrew Jones – 2016 Speech on Driverless Cars


Below is the text of the speech made by Andrew Jones, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, in Milton Keynes on 25 May 2016.

Thank you for the chance to speak today.

I must begin by complimenting the organisers’ impeccable sense of location and timing – in inviting me to make my first big speech on driverless cars, in Milton Keynes, home to a major driverless cars trial, and just a week after the world’s first driverless car insurance legislation was announced in the Queen’s Speech.

My message this morning will be a clear one.

Driverless cars are coming, and they are sooner than many people expect.

They will be a great step forward in automotive history, and potentially add significantly to quality of life and human freedom.

The UK is in a great position to lead their development.

And our new insurance legislation, which this morning I will set out in more detail than the government has done before, will create space for insurers to innovate and meet the needs of a radically different market.

Driverless cars not science fiction

So let me talk about connected, autonomous vehicles, driverless cars, first.

In recent times we’ve grown used to living with transport technologies that we consider to be basically mature.

The chief characteristics of the modern car haven’t changed much since.

From the Model T Ford to Aston Martin’s new DB11, being a four-wheeled, rubber-tyred vehicle navigated by a human driver, have remained constant for well over a century.

Of course as things improve, the technology has been refined and improved over time.

Yet it now seems clear that human-navigated cars have been just a stepping stone to the car’s ultimate form.

It won’t happen overnight, but we will steadily hand more and more of the driving process over to the vehicle itself.

Eventually, there will be virtually nothing left for the motorist to do.

Those who can’t currently drive will gain the chance to take to the open road. that could transform the lives of many older people.

Those of us who are already motorists will gain free time on our journeys to do other things; to work, read, watch television or socialise with our fellow passengers.

After dropping us at our destination, our cars may well be able to return home on their own, to charge themselves, or perhaps make themselves available for other users.

And all this should make travelling far safer.

More than 9 in 10 of today’s road fatalities have an element of human error.

The great hope for driverless cars is that they can eliminate those deaths, transform road safety in our country.

These advances might sound like science fiction, but the early models are already in testing.

Here, in Milton Keynes, pathfinder self-driving pods are now being trialled in pedestrianised areas.

The government is spending £100 million to support trials such as these, including in Greenwich, Bristol and Coventry.

But even that sum is dwarfed by what the big manufacturers are spending in the race to be first to make the technology commercially available.

Volvo, working with Thatcham – the insurance research body – recently announced that it will start testing its driverless technologies in and around London next year, with a rollout of up to 100 cars in 2018.

And the government believes that within 4 years it will be possible to buy cars that, under supervision, park on their own and pilot themselves on motorways.

UK at forefront

This is all good news for the UK.

Because we have a regulatory environment that is more open to automated and driverless cars than any other country in Europe.

This is a key government objective – to make the best place to do research and development.

Our car industry is more productive than ever before, and we are already building cutting-edge cars – such as the all-electric Nissan LEAF. I went up recently to the Sunderland Nissan battery plant. That plant built more cars than all of Italy.

So we have a great opportunity for the UK to become a pioneer in the design, manufacturer and use of driverless vehicle technologies.

Insurance changes

One other area where the UK has a lot of strength is the financial services industry.

And we want the motor insurance industry to be part of that world-leading change

So last week, in the Queen’s Speech, we became the first country in the world to announce our intention to legislate on insurance requirements for driverless cars.

Now, there’s been a lot of speculation about what the advent of the driverless car means for the insurance industry.

Some of the more excitable commentators have said that driverless cars will make motor insurance unnecessary.

I believe that is a lot of pie in the sky.

At least for the moment.

You will know better than anyone the range of things that can lead to insurance claims, many of which will be unaffected by the coming of the driverless car.

But what does seem certain is that insurance will need to change.

Firstly, much of the data on which insurance is priced and sold will steadily become obsolete.

Secondly, vast quantities of new kinds of data will become available, assessing not individual driver risk but vehicle behaviour and other factors.

And thirdly, in the event of a serious collision when in driverless mode, it would be the vehicle at fault, instead of the human driver.

In the legislation we will propose, we want to create space for the industry to lead these changes.

And we will amend the Road Traffic Act 1988 motor insurance provisions.

Compulsory motor insurance will be retained, but it will be extended to cover product liability, so that when a motorist has handed control to their vehicle, they can be reassured that their insurance will be there if anything goes wrong.

Where the vehicle is at fault then the insurer will be able to seek reimbursement from the manufacturer.

The vital point is that, for affected individuals, the insurance process will feel much the same.

Motorists and victims of collisions won’t be forced to go to court to obtain compensation.

They will have the benefit of fast and fair insurance compensation – just as they do today.

We will consult on these changes over the summer.

And we expect them to become law in time for applicable vehicles to come onto the market.

So there’s a pretty rare window of opportunity. That opportunity’s for insurers to innovate, to develop new products, partnerships and approaches.


And in the meantime, the government is keen to work with you.

We want to hear from the industry.

How can we support you in supporting your customers through these changes?

And above all, we want your views on the proposed legislation.

Have we got it right?

What more could we do?

Please look out for our consultation this summer.

We want to make sure that the benefits of automated cars by electric or hydrogen motors will be felt here. We want to be first in the world to grab opportunities. We can’t do this without industry who looks to the future. And we have a rare chance to shape the legislation of the future.

Because we are moving into this unseen territory together.

It’s an uncertain time.

But also an exciting time.

Thank you.

Andrew Jones – 2016 Speech on Highways Asset Management


Below is the text of the speech made by Andrew Jones, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, at the Institute of Civil Engineers on 17 May 2016.


It’s a real pleasure to be here today.

The theme of today’s conference is very fitting: “Challenges in highways asset management.”

Managing our nation’s highways is challenging.

Especially in the times in which we live.

Times in which levels of road traffic continue to rise.

But times in which finances continue to be constrained.

I remember those challenges from my time as a councillor in Harrogate, when I was the cabinet member for finance and resources.

Importance of our local road network

The local highway network is one of our most valuable national assets and an essential component of our economy.

When it performs as it should, it gets us to work, to study, to visit friends and family, and it supports the movement of trade across the country.

It is therefore crucial that the local highway network is well-maintained, and well-managed.


That is why between 2015 and 2021 we are providing over £6 billion for local highways maintenance.

That includes a £250 million fund specifically for repairing potholes; enough to repair over 4 million of them by 2021.

We have set out our spending plans 5 years ahead in order to provide certainty, and so that councils can plan to use the cash in the best possible way, and at the right time.

Asset management

That is, after all, what good asset management is all about.

But while we’ve made improvements to give councils more certainty, there’s scope for councils to make improvements too; to find efficiencies, and to invest the money at the right time in these assets’ lifecycles.

I am sure that most people in the room today could tell me of times they’ve seen money being spent in ways that are far from ideal.

And I know that of the 150-plus highway authorities in this country, many are doing very similar things in different ways, rather than pooling knowledge and expertise for common gain.

The real, challenge, of course, is how to do this in an era of devolution.

It would be easy for the government to tell local authorities what to do.

But that wouldn’t stimulate innovation and the sharing of good ideas.

So we want to leave the field open for highway authorities to take the initiative, to share ideas, and to learn from one another.

This conference is a great chance to do just that – to talk about what good asset management looks like, and how we can continue to improve.

Those who do take opportunities to improve will see real financial benefits, greater accountability, and better roads for everyone who depends on them.

That is why we have decided to allocate the funding we give to highways authorities partly on the basis of performance.

It’s an incentive for those who have done well to do even better, and for those who haven’t done so well to catch up.

That incentive funding is worth £578 million between now and 2021.

The results of the incentive funding for 2016/17 were announced last month.

For those authorities who have not ranked as highly as they’d have liked, the department stand ready to support them for next time around.

Our highways maintenance efficiency programme provides guidance and advice to local highway authorities too.

And we have also published advice on determining economic costs and benefits of highway maintenance.

Later today you will be hearing from Matthew Lugg on the highways asset management toolkit.

This resource is designed to help bolster highway engineers’ case for funding for highways maintenance.

Of course, if you want experts from the Department for Transport to help make that case to elected members in person, we are happy to assist.

Just let the department or I know.


Yet I also believe the time is ripe for us to make more use of new technology to support highway maintenance.

Right across the transport sector, new technology and ways of working are transforming how we get things done.

It’s a great opportunity for highways maintenance.

For example, technology can help us collect information about our assets, to ensure better decision making, to understand more about the materials we use and whole-life costs.

This is the right time for us all to shift our thinking as a sector.


And finally, I also believe we can do more to reduce the congestion on our local roads caused by road works.

There are over 2 million road works on local roads each year, costing over £4 billion.

We know that roadworks are essential.

But they shouldn’t be in place any longer than is absolutely necessary.

We are currently consulting on changes that could reduce the ‘A’ road congestion caused by road works left in unattended at weekends, and also to ensure removal of temporary traffic lights as soon as the works are complete.


And so, in conclusion.

The sector has come a long way over the past few years; by becoming more efficient, by adopting better principles of asset management, and by working more collaboratively.

Now we want highways authorities and their contractors to keep improving.

To keeping learning from one another.

To communicate, co-ordinate and plan ahead.

To adopt new technology and innovation.

To help make funding go further still.

By following and adopting these principles we will have better local road network and help keep the nation moving.

Thank you.

Andrew Jones – 2016 Speech on Funding for Road Maintenance


Below is the text of the speech made by Andrew Jones, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, at the Road Surface Treatments Association Conference on 7 April 2016.


It’s a real pleasure to be here today.

To give the keynote address on the future of funding for road maintenance.

After all, this is a subject of vital importance to all of us – government, industry, and – above all – everyone who uses our roads.


That importance is why the condition of the local road network is so often in the media.

And it is why even before I was appointed Roads Minister, I received more letters about potholes than about anything else.

And since becoming Roads Minister, I’ve realised my colleagues in Parliament do too.

Given that I’ve become the person they pass all their letters onto for my response.

I don’t mind – that’s why I came into politics: to deal with some of the problems that matter to people’s everyday lives.

And right now, when we’ve just emerged from a winter that the Met Office has said was one of the wettest on record.

Leading to severe flooding and damage to our roads.

Public interest in road maintenance is at its annual highest.

I pay tribute to those who worked to respond to the floods, helping to repair and rebuild damaged infrastructure.

Both over the winter and more recently in response to Storm Katie over the Easter Weekend.

It’s because of the extreme weather we’ve seen that we have agreed to provide a further £180 million so affected authorities can repair the damage to local roads.

However you look at it, £180 million is a lot of money – especially in the context of the still-urgent need to balance the nation’s books.

But even that figure is dwarfed by the quarter of a billion pounds we’re targeting at fixing potholes on the local road network through our Pothole Action Fund.

Enough to repair over 4 million holes by 2021.

Then there is also the £578 million we are making available between now and 2021 to incentivise highways authorities’ performance.

And those figures are just a fraction of the overall total of £6 billion we’ve committed for local highway authorities in England during the same period.

Representing a funding increase of nearly £400 million for local roads maintenance compared to the last Parliament.

And the fact that we have laid out our spending plans 5 years ahead is another clue as to how seriously the government is taking highway maintenance.

We want to provide local highway authorities with funding certainty.

So they can use the cash in the best possible way.

Perhaps identifying preventative maintenance to undertake now that will save them money later.

Sound asset management

That, after all, is what good asset management is all about.

The motto that prevention is better than cure applies to our roads, just as much as anything else.

And as a former Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources for my local council in Harrogate, I understand the pressures authorities are under.

But I also understand that there’s scope for local authorities to improve their approach to maintaining their roads.

To find efficiencies, and to invest money at the right time in these assets’ lifecycles.

I wouldn’t be surprised if most people in the room today could give me stories about how they’ve seen money being spent in ways that are far from ideal.

And I know that of the 150-plus highway authorities in this country, most are doing very similar things in different ways, rather than pooling knowledge and expertise for common gain.

It was painfully evident from the National Audit Office study undertaken in 2014 that many highway authorities did not have an asset management strategy or plan.

Despite the fact that authorities who use such plans see real financial benefits, improved accountability, value for money and customer service.

So that’s why 2 years ago we decided to introduce incentive funding – the £578 million pound pot I mentioned just now.

This money is to be allocated to highways authorities based on their performance.

Authorities that spend money on roads efficiently.

Will be rewarded with extra funds to keep up the good work.

While authorities with a history of inefficiency will receive comparatively less money.

Over time, we expect that all authorities will improve.

By the financial year 2018/19, over a quarter of funding will be allocated on the basis of competition or performance.

I have been pleased that all authorities eligible to apply for incentive funding have submitted self-assessment returns to the department.

You will hear more from Matthew Lugg later today about how we are assessing authorities.

Matthew has worked closely with the Department for Transport and the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme Board to put our plans into action.

I express my thanks for his and the board’s contribution.

But what I can announce for the first time today is the results of the incentive funding for 2016/17.

All the authorities that applied will receive some incentive funding.

But I would particularly like to mention what we now know are the 2 top performing highways authorities in the country: Durham and Lincolnshire.

They scored highly against all 22 criteria and they will receive the maximum possible funding.

I would urge other authorities to look closely at how Durham and Lincolnshire are running such an efficient operation.

Where all the other authorities rank and the funding they will receive is to be published on the DfT’s website today.

For those authorities which have not ranked as highly as they’d have liked my officials in the department stand ready to support them in learning from the best.

Indeed, if highways authorities feel that they need someone from the Department for Transport to make the case for proper highways management to elected members in person, we are happy to send one of our experts along.

Please contact the department or me directly if you feel this would be helpful in your area.


And so, in conclusion.

The sector has come a long way over the past few years.

By becoming more efficient.

By adopting better principles of asset management and by working more collaboratively.

Now we want highways authorities and their contractors to keep improving.

To keep learning from one another.

And to make funding go further still.

Places like Durham and Lincolnshire are showing what’s possible.

By following their lead, we’ll have a better road network that better meets the needs of the nation.

Thank you.

Andrew Jones – 2016 Speech on Investing in Hastings


Below is the text of the speech made by Andrew Jones, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, in Hastings on 18 March 2016.


Thank you for your welcome.

It’s great to be down on the beautiful south coast in a town with such a fantastic history.

And with the cutting-edge driverless cars on display at this summit.

We can also see something of the Hastings of the future, too.

In fact, with the presentations from the rail and bus companies, as well as Highways England and Network Rail here today.

You will have heard about the transport improvements already in progress for Hastings.

As yesterday’s budget showed, investing in the rail and road network in the UK is a priority for the government.

And there’s certainly more work to do for Hastings.

As the Roads Minister, I have seen how new expressways, new link roads or even things as simple as better junctions can unlock investment, spread prosperity and ultimately improve people’s lives.

Because a modern transport network doesn’t just lead to faster journeys from A to B.

It creates new jobs and housing.

It cuts congestion and improves the local environment.

And most of all, it creates opportunity.

2015 improvements

One of the privileges of being a Transport Minister is getting out of the office.

And seeing the work underway to improve infrastructure and make sure Britain has a network fit for the 21st century.

Witnessing the local pride and the sense of anticipation from people who will reap the benefits is the most enjoyable part of my job.

– the business that will now be able to invest

– the mum who finds her narrow street is quieter and safer for her children

– or the job-seeker who finds a new employment opportunity within easy travelling time

The Combe Valley Way only opened in December.

But it is great to see for myself the positive impact it has made to the seafront and indeed the whole town.

Ending years of frustration for local people.

And providing far quicker journeys across the region.

Bexhill and Hastings waited a long time for the road.

And now it’s here, it’s already helping communities previously blighted by congestion.

The Combe Valley Way should encourage economic regeneration across the area.

That’s why we put over £50 million into it.

And that’s why this government is determined to invest in the transport infrastructure in this country.

But the new road is just the start of what we are doing in this region and throughout the country as a whole.

Across the UK we are investing £15 billion over the next 5 years.

Which will pay for 100 projects to introduce similar improvements for areas across England.

This will include capacity improvements along the A27 to build the dual carriageway Arundel bypass.

And create a far better road around Worthing, Lancing and East of Lewes.

All this work will benefit Hastings by creating faster, more reliable journeys along this key south coast corridor.

Next steps

So I’m pleased to come here at a time when real progress is being been made on improving your road links.

But you will want to hear about what can happen next for this area.

This morning I travelled up and down the A21 to see the Kippings Cross section for myself.

Around 35,000 vehicles use the road every day, so the importance of the A21 to East Sussex and Hastings is clear.

It’s a crucial link between the M25 and the south coast.

Of course, £70 million of improvements to the road are already underway, with the dualling of the Tonbridge to Pembury section due to open next year.

And as the Chancellor confirmed this week, the process for preparing for the next period of strategic road investment starting in 2020 has now been announced.

It means that the investment in our road network will continue.

And that we can enter the research stage for delivering the next wave.

Of course, that research takes time.

But it is vital for ensuring that when we invest in roads, taxpayers’ money is being used for maximum value and to achieve the best possible designs.

So between now and March 2017, Highways England will be reviewing the UK’s entire strategic road network.

To see what road improvements we can make to best overall effect.

The public, local authorities, businesses and politicians will all get the opportunity to have their say – including in Hastings.

Then, by the end of 2017, Highways England will present its findings to the government.

We will consult on that plan those too – providing another chance for people to have their say.

And we will make the final announcements on in 2019.

Of course, comprehensive improvements to the southern section of the A21 would be a very large undertaking.

Because of the scale of that proposal, the A21 may well be a candidate for a future strategic study by the government.

Such studies are used to examine the very biggest challenges facing the road network.

They have been used to look at, for example, links across the Northern Pennines.

And improvements to the busiest parts of the M25.

But most importantly for me, my visit today has ensured that when I work with Highways England, and when we take those final investment decisions in 2019, I will be in possession of the full facts on the ground.


And so in conclusion, as the announcements the government has made this week have made clear, transport investment is a cornerstone of this government’s plan for economic growth.

That isn’t to provide impressive-looking figures on a spreadsheet.

It is about allowing towns like Hastings to achieve their potential.

And that’s a prospect everyone here can support.

Thank you.