'Speed up help for Plaxton' - Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill tells Transport Minister

Scarborough’s MP is urging the Government to speed up spending aimed at helping coach builders like Plaxton.

Friday, 18th September 2020, 9:30 am
Updated Friday, 18th September 2020, 12:06 pm
Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill

Robert Goodwill pressed Minister of State at the Department for Transport Andrew Stephenson about what was being done to support bus manufacturers in Scarborough and Whitby at a parliamentary questions session.

Mr Stephenson replied: “We are committed to providing at least 4,000 British-built zero-emission buses through our £5 billion funding package for buses and cycling.”

Mr Goodwill then said: “If 2020 has been a tough year for bus and coach operators, it has been even worse for manufacturers such as Alexander Dennis Plaxton in Scarborough.

Sign up to our daily The Scarborough News Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“We have heard on a number of occasions today of the £5 billion announced in February for 4,000 zero-emission British-built buses, but does the Minister agree with me that we need to get this money out of the door very quickly indeed if we are to avert a crisis on the production lines?”

Mr Stephenson replied: “I thank my right honourable friend for his question. I completely agree with what he says, and I commend him for what he has been doing to support manufacturers in his constituency.

“The Government has announced more than £700 million in support for the bus and light rail sector already to date, and we are also providing £50 million for Britain’s first all-electric bus town and the £20 million rural mobility fund, which will support additional jobs.

“However, I agree with him, and I hope that we will make an announcement soon.”

The company that owns Plaxton - Alexander Dennis (ADL) - announced last month that 90 jobs are to go at the Eastfield factory, while it is to shut its Guildford production site.

It is also cutting 160 jobs at its Falkirk site.

ADL has blamed a drop in business due to coronavirus for the cuts.

Mr Goodwill was one of a cross-party group of MPs who wrote to the Prime Minister back in July to demand the money he committed in February to fund investment for “at least 4,000 new zero emission buses” be brought forward in the hope of saving jobs.