It was announced last week that Chris Grayling has been appointed as the new Secretary of State for Transport. On behalf of everyone at the Community Transport Association, I would like to congratulate him on his appointment; we look forward to working with him and his team in the coming years to help make transport more accessible and inclusive in every part of the country.
At the Community Transport Association, our vision is of a world where people can shape and create their own accessible and inclusive transport solutions so that everything else in life can be accessible and inclusive too. To achieve this, the CTA has a strong relationship with the Department for Transport, working with them to ensure the contribution community transport makes is understood and valued at all levels of government. We’re pleased to have a very positive working relationship with the DfT and look forward to this continuing under the new Secretary of State.
This parliament has seen a number of pieces of legislation that will affect the community transport sector, including the progression of the Bus Services Bill which has the potential to recast how we view partnership working between the voluntary and the commercial transport sectors. As this Bill makes its way through Parliament we have the opportunity to make sure it delivers a fundamental shift towards better local transport networks that involve the community in meeting a greater range of needs, and we will continue working with Peers, MPs and the Department for Transport to help achieve this.
Congratulations as well to Andrew Jones MP for his reappointment as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport. Andrew is a great supporter of community transport and we are looking forward to his keynote address at our Westminster Conference in November. We also look forward to working with Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon and Paul Maynard MP who have also been appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State at the Department for Transport. Paul Maynard’s record in Parliament shows he places importance on concerns about access and inclusion within our transport network.
I would also like to thank Patrick McLoughlin, Chris Grayling’s predecessor as Secretary of State, for his work over the last four years. Patrick has been a good friend to community transport, overseeing the Community Transport Minibus Fund, which saw millions of pounds in new minibuses awarded to community transport operators across England. The fund has had an enormous impact on local communities. We wish him well in his new role of Chairman of the Conservative party and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Congratulations once again to Chris Grayling; we look forward to working with him to champion the vital work that community transport operators play in making transport accessible and inclusive for those who need it most.