Thursday, 25 February 2010

Parliamentary language explained

This from the Noble Lord yesterday...

Lord Bradshaw (Liberal Democrat)
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much subsidy, if any, has been paid to the operator of the West Coast Main Line franchise since 2005.

Lord Adonis (Secretary of State, Department for Transport; Labour)
The Department for Transport routinely publishes details of contracted base franchise payments and receipts for individual franchise when they are let. Details for the west coast main line franchise is set out on our website and can be found at

Is this Parliamentary language for "My officials can't be arsed to answer your question"?

UPDATE: This from Sir Herbert Gussett (Rtd)...

Lord B asks Lord A for the subsidy paid to Virgin West Coast & Lord A refers him to an old press release.

Clearly Lord A is such a master of his brief that he forgets that since then track access charges nationally were re-based & a significant element of the high charge for using the WCML is now paid directly to Network Rail.

Virgin is now paying "a small premium" to the DfT (Source Tony Collins as quoted in Modern Railways).

Perhaps Lord B should now ask the following:

a) How much extra is the DfT now paying NR for the use of the WCML, despite the fact that it is so unreliable that Virgin is now the worst performing TOC!


b) Why Lord A is talking out of his ars... (Eye reserves the right to shorten reader comments due to pressures of space. Ed)