The recent CTA Westminster Conference was opened by Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport. Andrew is a great friend of community transport, and of the CTA, and we were thrilled to welcome him to the conference.
The Minister has previously been involved in a number of different CTA events this year including the handover of new Departments for Transport funded minibuses, launching the second round of the Community Minibus Fund at an event in Market Harborough and addressing our recent CTA Seminar in association with KPMG. We were also thrilled to welcome him to the new CTA offices is Manchester earlier this year, the move to which was partly funded by the Department for Transport. He has also contributed to the CTA blog and the CTA Journal.
The Minister started his speech by thanking the CTA for inviting him to speak at the conference: “I know how important it is for CTA members”, he said, “but it’s also very important to me. I value strongly the relationship that I have built up with the community transport sector during my time at the Department for Transport.
“As a Transport Minister you realise pretty quickly that many of the decisions that you take will only really deliver results in the longer term” he said, pointing to new infrastructure such as High Speed Two as an example. “What’s inspiring about the great work going on within this sector is that it realises results right away and, in turn, it is therefore clear to see how communities are benefiting.”
That, said the Minister, is why the Department of Transport are “very pleased to work with the CTA on the second round of the Community Minibus Fund.”
“We remain committed to the sector to help you continue to do the amazing work you do across the country” he said. “I want to encourage as many of you as possible to apply to the £2 million second round of the fund.”
The Minister went on to discuss that funding such as the Community Minibus Fund and BSOG is not the only way that the Department for Transport works to help the community transport sector. He pointed to the relationship between the DfT and the CTA and the impact it has on policy relating to community transport.
“The CTA acts as a critical friend when we’re developing policy,” he said, “to ensure that we take the potential impacts on the sector into account.”
“By building a strong relationship between government and industry we will continue to act in your interests because your interests are also your community’s interests. The work that you do every day, helping people to get to work, to access services, reducing social isolation, bringing people together, removing the barriers they would otherwise face using the wider transport network, proving that transport doesn’t just help people get around, it helps them get on and helps keep communities together and viable.”
“The fact that you do it for charitable purposes often volunteering your own time and resources makes your contribution, and the contribution of the sector, even more impressive so I would just like to finish if I could” he said, “with a simple thank you.”
“Thank you to all of you individually, to you teams, to your organisations and to the CTA for representing your sector so well. I think you are doing a fantastic job and I am extremely pleased that I’m personally part of a government which is going to be working with you to support you to develop this work and see more of the benefits reach more people.
“Transport is at the heart of viable communities, making our economies work, making our communities work. We wouldn’t be able to achieve anything like the social and economic progress if we didn’t see the work of you and your organisations around our country. That is a great thing to be able to say about the work that you do.”
Thank you to Andrew for his support of the CTA and for community transport, and we look forward to working with him in 2017.