Grant Shapps at Tory conference: Labour highlights 12 failures in 12 months

Labour has highlighted 12 failures in 12 months by Grant Shapps, ahead of the Transport Secretary making an appearance at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester today.

Labour chair Anneliese Dodds said: “Conservative transport policy under Grant Shapps’ leadership has been a shambles. His huge delays in taking action are currently being painfully exposed.

“The public deserve better than a Tory government who are out for themselves and can’t be trusted to stand up for the interests of working people.”

Shapps is scheduled to be in conversation with broadcaster Iain Dale at 4.40pm on the main stage at Tory conference this afternoon.

Below is the full list of failures according to Labour.

Failure 1 – HGV driver shortage 

  • With a long term driver shortage of more than 100,000, Grant Shapps’ solution is a temporary visa for just 5,000 people for just three months.
  • Shapps – along with the Prime Minister – has presented no clear plan, held no joint taskforce meetings with industry, ministers and unions as Labour has suggested, and failed to grasp the severity of the situation.

Failure 2 – Petrol crisis

  • Caused in part by the HGV shortage and in part by Shapps’ mismanagement and poor communication, over the past week we have seen long queues at the pumps, with petrol prices hitting an eight-year high.
  • Ministers including Grant Shapps continued to claim there was no crisis, despite people across the country being able to fill up to get to work, get their children to school or carry out essential day-to-day tasks.

Failure 3 – Cost of PCR tests

  • While the government says it is trying encourage international travel, people are still having to pay for their own required PCR tests, often at a cost of well over £100 per person.

Failure 4 – Delays at the border 

  • Shapps failed to get a grip of the situation at UK airports as people attempted to travel again, waiting hours in queues to get into the country.
  • He failed to work with Home Office colleagues to ensure there were sufficient Border Force staff in place to deal with the extra work required due to pandemic restrictions.

Failure 5 – Failure to publish the international traffic light system data

  • Under both the traffic light system and the new simplified version, the government has repeatedly refused to publish the country-by-country assessment data, which would give confidence to both consumers and the industry that the decision to allow travel is based on sound science and not politics.

Failure 5 – Rise in rail fares

  • Regulated rail fares are likely to rise by 4.8% next year.
  • Average fares will rise to 50.35% more than they were in 2010 – the average commuter faces paying £3,295 for their season ticket.

Failure 6 – Failure to commit to HS2 to Leeds 

  • The Tories committed to HS2 at the 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections. In their 2019 manifesto, they waited for the outcome of the review into it they had commissioned. It reported three months after the election. On the day of its publication the Prime Minister said in reference to HS2: “We are going to get this done”.
  • Press reports indicate the Tories are set to pull plans to build HS2 all the way to Leeds.

Failure 7 – Seven-year delay on Northern Powerhouse Rail

  • Tory ministers have re-announced or re-committed to Northern Powerhouse Rail more than 60 times in the last seven years, yet not a single mile of track has been built.

Failure 8 – Massive rise in bus fares 

  • ONS inflation data shows bus and coach fare prices were up 21% in January 2021 compared to the same month a year before. That’s the highest yearly rise since the figures began in 1988.

Failure 9 – more people than ever put off cycling

  • Official figures show that 66% of respondents to the government’s official British social attitudes survey ‘agreed or strongly agreed that it is too dangerous for me to cycle on the road’.
  • This is up from 61% in 2011. Of those that cycle, there’s been a 30% increase in number feeling it’s too dangerous over the decade, from 44% in 2011 to 57% in 2020.

Failure 10 – failure to support jobs in the aviation industry

  • When Eurostar, the aviation and tourism sector needed financial support from the government, a sectoral deal never came – despite being promised by more than 18 months ago.
  • There was an absence of any mention in the Transport Secretary’s statement on the 20th September of the 81,000 workers in the industry that were still on furlough at the time, as they faced a cliff edge just 10 days later.

Failure 11 – missing 4,000 zero emission buses

  • Ministers promised 18 months ago they would deliver 4,000 new zero emission buses – yet not a single one has made it onto the road.

Failure 12 – pulling a deal to end the DVLA dispute

  • Ministers at the highest level were accused of scuppering a deal which would have ended the ongoing dispute with DVLA staff and the PCS union over health and safety and avert further strike action at the Swansea sites.
  • The dispute is ongoing, the previous deal has still not been returned to the table and ministers have still not confirmed why they pulled the deal.

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