Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

RETURN JOURNEY

25-03-2009

Yellow Bus

Once again, ministers are floating the idea of yellow buses operating on school routes in the UK - just like America. Barbara Panvel traces the recurring links between the transport business and government.

Last week the Commons Transport Committee recommended the use of American-style yellow school buses, following a two year campaign by US transport company First Group, assisted by former education secretary MP David Blunkett and former West Bromwich Lord Snape, its consultant.

In 2007 David Blunkett chaired the First Group Yellow School Bus Commission on the future of home to school transport and the potential for the use of American style yellow school buses.

He records that he received from First Group “phased payments of £20,001-£25,000, including facilitation of visit to the United States for myself and a member of my staff”.

Later, in September 2008, MP Jim Sheridan travelled to New York State and California, USA, to First Student (yellow school buses) locations on a fact-finding visit. Hotel accommodation, meals and fares were paid by First Group plc.

What's more, the Director General of Rail & National Networks at the Department for Transport, Dr. Mike Mitchell, is a former employee of First Group and the list of hospitality for board members of government departments indicates that he was entertained on over 40 occasions by transport corporates in 2007. cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/122200/hospitality_publication2007.pdf pdf

Years ago the rail system was severely damaged by Ernest Marples - a minister with a vested influence.

Marples (founder of road builders Marples, Ridgway and Partners) ordered the closure of many parts of Britain’s railway system and redirected traffic to the newly built motorways, eventually making millions from government contracts.

This precedent, the recent Lords scandal, the forthcoming review and the whole litany of similar malpractice should ensure that in future there will be a clear separation of the interest of politicians - who are elected to serve their constituents - from large corporations whose first aim is to make the largest possible profit.

DISCUSS THIS ON THE STIRRER FORUM

Google

The Stirrer Forum

The Stirrer home

valid xhtml

©2006 - 2009 The Stirrer