Government is betraying rail users with latest U-turn


West Midlands MEP Jill Seymour has accused the Government of betraying rail travellers by scrapping plans to electrify lines across large parts of the UK.

Plans to modernise three busy lines – from Cardiff to Swansea, the Midland mainline and tracks in the Lake District – have been scrapped amid concerns over the spiralling budget.

But Mrs Seymour said: “The cost of electrification is just a drop in the ocean compared with the eye-watering sums being spent on the HS2 vanity project, which has no viable business case.

“And while the electrification projects would benefit commuters across large parts of the country – and help the environment too – HS2 will be used by just a tiny minority, and decimate huge swathes of our countryside.

“This is a betrayal which makes no logical sense. The Government is taking rail travellers for a ride – and leaving a trail of broken promises behind. The Tories have been promising electrification of these lines for five years.”

Instead of electrification project, transport secretary Chris Grayling says the Government now wants to invest instead in new ‘bi-mode’ trains, which can switch between electric and diesel power mid-journey, like a hybrid car.

Mrs Seymour, who sits on the transport committee in the European Union, said: “The Government sneaked this information out a few hours before heading off on summer holiday, presumably hoping to avoid a lot of awkward questions.

“The double standards which this Government is displaying are infuriating. On one hand, they are demonising drivers of diesel vehicles with ever-increasing financial penalties, and on the other they are now indicating that diesel-powered trains are here to stay, for the foreseeable future.

“It’s another case of ‘do as we say, not as we do’ from a Government which simply cannot be trusted, and seems to be making up random pieces of policy as it goes along.”

Time to stop treating drivers like ‘wallets on wheels’


West Midlands MEP Jill Seymour has called on councils to deliver a fairer deal for drivers after new research revealed many local authorities are treating motorists like ‘wallets on wheels’.

She was responding to a report from the AA which reveals that 60 per cent of councils across England have cut their highways spending – despite raking in much more revenue from parking charges.

“Week after week, we see fresh evidence of the way motorists are being demonised by the authorities,” she said.

“Drivers have become little more than cash cows for local councils, and the time has come to redress the balance.

“Motorists don’t resent paying their dues, if they can see the money being spent on improving the transport network. But in large parts of the country, that simply isn’t the case.

“While the Government presses stubbornly ahead with the £55 billion-plus HS2 project to benefit just a tiny minority, roads which are used by the vast majority don’t receive the same investment. It makes no logical sense.”

The AA’s research found that nearly two thirds of local authorities reduced spending on areas such as road maintenance, street lights and school crossing patrols in the last financial year.

Yet at the same time, more than 200 councils are seeking to once again raise fees for both on and off-street parking, to pile more money into their coffers. AA president Edmund King said that motorists were now viewed as merely ‘wallets on wheels’.

Mrs Seymour, who sits on the European Union’s transport committee, said: “We all know that council budgets are being squeezed, but it seems that highways departments are disproportionately hit.

“The AA’s research shows the extent of the problem, with more than half of English councils cutting spending on road improvements. And we’re not talking pennies, here – each council’s average reduction is close to £1 million.

“There has also been a worryingly sharp drop in the amount of money being spent on road safety education programmes and school crossing patrols.”

Sour grapes from scaremongering airline boss



Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has been accused of scaremongering after claiming there could be no flights from Britain to Europe when the UK leaves the European Union.

West Midlands MEP Jill Seymour, who sits on the EU’s transport committee, said: “It was very sad to hear Mr O’Leary revealing such a short-sighted view.

“He told the committee that there is a distinct possibility that there could be no flights from the UK into the European Union following Brexit, which is frankly ludicrous.

“As long as the demand exists for flights to popular holiday spots like Spain, France and Greece, they will of course continue.

“Mr O’Leary is merely scaremongering, and venting his frustration that he campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU – and lost.”

The Ryanair boss made his comments during a debate in Brussels on the impact which Brexit will have on aviation, where speakers also included the boss of British Airways, Willie Walsh, and senior vice president of Lufthansa, Thomas Kropp.

He told the committee the UK had no clue how it was going to negotiate a workable aviation deal with Brussels.

And he added: “If there is no deal, there will be no flights. There is not a legal mechanism on which the airlines can operate in a hard Brexit, no deal outcome.

“So there is no prospect of having some kind of higher prices at airports, or airlines for flights to the UK. There will simply be no flights.”

The only way to guarantee continued flights between the UK and the EU, he said, was to either retain the current ‘open skies’ policy, or come to a bilateral trade agreement.

We must not risk running our haulage firms off the road


Jill Seymour told the European Parliament in Brussels that is it vital we do not run small and medium sized transport businesses off our roads. Here is what she told the chamber:

“CO2 emissions across the transport sector need to be addressed, however in the road haulage industry where their margins are very tight, it is extremely important that small and medium size businesses are not run off the road, and out of existence through unrealistic targets.

“I hear dangerous talk on cabotage, but some reassuring words on dubious letterbox companies that exploit workers.

“It is action, more than words that can only work.

“May I suggest you allow each member state to tackle the individual companies who blatantly abuse this system across the EU.

“Fragmentation of the internal market should not be used as an excuse to harmonise road safety in member states especially when the UK and Sweden have the safest roads in Europe.

“The EU is constantly questioning the competence of national governments.

“May I state the UK has been running very successfully its networks and transport infrastructure for many years and certainly do not need any further interference from the EU.

“It will be a great day when we regain our independence and leave the European Union.”

BA debacle: Why the chief executive should resign


UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour today called for the resignation of British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz following the catastrophic failure of its computer systems over the bank holiday weekend.

She said: “British Airways represents the United Kingdom across the globe, and this disastrous failure has tarnished not only the reputation of the airline, but Britain as well.

“Alex Cruz certainly had his head in the clouds when he made the business decision to outsource BA’s IT systems and customer service personnel to India. It shows total lack of understanding about the company he heads.

“British Airways is a premium brand where excellent customer service should be a priority.

“This certainly is not the case any more with BA, where stranded passengers were left with zero information, and lack of any communication to be able to make an informed decision on their best option.

“It now transpires that some compensation is available – but this does not compensate the many thousands of passengers still trying to locate their luggage, and having their dream holidays and business trips destroyed.

“This is simply not good enough for the UK’s flag carrier, and if changes need to be made, it must start at the top.”

Manston Airport plans prove UKIP lives up to its promises

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Geoff Moore/REX (2232582s)
Manston International Airport Kent
Launch day of new KLM service to Schiphol at Manston International Airport, Kent, Britain - 02 Apr 2013
Launch day today (tues) at Manston, Kent of the new KLM service to the main hub airport of Schiphol in Holland. The Fokker 70 aircraft will be used on the twice daily flights. KLM and Manston officials were their for the launch day.

A £100 million investment plan to revive aviation at Manston Airport in Kent would not have been possible without the tireless campaigning of UKIP councillors, according to the party’s transport spokesman Jill Seymour.

An American logistics company has today unveiled plans to acquire the 750-acre site, and use it as a base for at least a dozen aircraft.

Representatives for the un-named investment company are due to discuss the prospects of Thanet District Council becoming a partner in a compulsory purchase order for the site.

“This is fabulous news. UKIP insisted two years ago that it was the only party which would work to save Manston, and we are delivering on our promises,” said Mrs Seymour.

“News of this potential investment is testimony to the tireless campaigning, lobbying and hard work of the UKIP team on the ground in Thanet under Councillor Chris Wells, the leader of the council.

“Our councillors have worked hand-in-hand with other groups, including Supporters of Manston Airport (SUMA) and Save Manston Airport (SMA) – this is a triumph for collaboration, determination, and co-operation.

“While UKIP is vilified by the political points-scoring of other parties, our elected representatives are simply getting on with the job, and making things happen.

“I’m delighted there could be a viable future for Manston Airport, and I will watch the developments with interest and enthusiasm over the coming weeks.

“This is a fabulous local asset, and it would be a terrible tragedy if it was to be lost purely through a lack of political willpower.”

The American logistics company already has operations in Europe, and is being represented in the discussions by German-based consultancy DTD Consult.

It says the company is looking for a base initially to relocate 12 aircraft belonging to clients currently at a European location, and regards Manston as having advantages because of its access to London and the Channel ports.

Dale Crawford, spokesman for DTD Consult, told Kent Online: “There is a clear commercial need for additional airport capacity in the South East.”

Why I’ve decided not to stand in the 2017 General Election


UKIP MEP Jill Seymour will not be putting herself forward as a candidate at the 2017 general election.

The Shropshire-based MEP, who fought The Wrekin seat in 2015, cited ‘family and personal reasons’ for the decision.

She said she would instead focus all her attention on continuing to campaign to ensure the Government delivers the Brexit which Britain voted for in the referendum last year.

Mrs Seymour said: “My belief in Brexit is unwavering, and I hope that when people go to the polls on June 8, they send a message to the many sitting MPs who voted to remain in the EU – against the wishes of the majority of their constituents.

“Britain faces a bright future outside the European Union, and we need to ensure that, going forward, we are represented by MPs who truly believe in this vision.”


When it comes to a ‘coalition of chaos’, you won’t beat HS2


UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour today expressed her ‘frustration and disappointment’ after Theresa May insisted she remained absolutely committed to the HS2 rail project.

Mrs Seymour said: “The Prime Minister wants to paint herself as a strong leader – yet her stubborn support for this white elephant project is an example of ducking a massive issue which will cost Britain tens of billions of pounds that we can’t afford to be spending.

“When it comes to a coalition of chaos, HS2 is the perfect storm; multiple public-funded organisations on the gravy train, a budget which even some of Mrs May’s own MPs now admit could top £200 billion, and no fewer than 17 different PR agencies involved.

“But it doesn’t matter how many spin doctors are recruited to try to convince people there’s a need for HS2 – they won’t find a compelling business case which is backed up by hard evidence.

“The election campaign was a perfect opportunity for the Government to pull in the reins on this project, and hold those people who are spraying around taxpayers’ money like confetti to account.

“But instead, Mrs May has put the interests of the big organisations making huge sums of money out of HS2 ahead of the needs of the existing railway infrastructure, which is crying out for investment after decades of under-funding.”

Mrs Seymour added: “HS2 has never been needed, and the economic case has never been justified. It will never pay its way, and will always be a burden on the taxpayer.

“And the HS2 line will tear up large parts of our countryside, and wreck the lives of people in many rural communities. It will benefit only a small minority of travellers, yet all British taxpayers will have to foot the bill.”

Brexit is NOT about turning our backs on Europe…


Jill Seymour says…

Everyone seems to be trying to predict what life is going to be like for families and businesses over the next few years.

And the phrase which keeps popping up in conversation is “When we are out of Europe…”

Hold on, just rewind for a moment. That’s not what Brexit is all about.

We are NOT leaving Europe. We are NOT turning our backs on the European people. We are simply untangling ourselves from the tentacles of the flawed, and frankly floundering institution called the European Union.

People supported Brexit because they are fed up of being controlled by Europe. This is very, very different from saying we want to pull up the drawbridge and completely isolate ourselves from our neighbours.

We just want to wrestle back control of our own rules, regulations, and legislation.

I campaigned passionately for Brexit because I believe it will always be the British people who know what is best for our strong, proud, and resilient island nation.

Look at the investment which is flooding into places like Telford, where my constituency office is based, right now. In the past year, we’ve probably seen more headline-grabbing developments than at any time since the halcyon days of the late 1980s, when so many Japanese and Taiwanese firms set up manufacturing bases in the town.

Austrian automotive component manufacturer Polytec is building a new factory here which will create nearly 250 jobs, and another car parts giant, Magna, has started work on an even bigger plant which will employ over 300 workers.

These multi-million pound decisions are never made lightly. The companies will have weighed up the pros and cons, and come to what I believe is clearly the right conclusion: that the future is bright for Brexit Britain, and we are perfectly positioned to prosper.

To those who are worried that our exit from the European Union will damage economic development, and bring about a threat to workers’ rights, I say this:

The UK has never depended on the EU for workers’ rights. Modern pensions began in 1908, equal pay was introduced in 1970, our Race Discrimination Act dates back to 1965, and UK maternity rights are longer and better paid than those enshrined in EU law.

That same EU law provides for a minimum of four weeks of paid holiday for workers – yet the UK already provides 5.6 weeks.

Have faith. Britain will always do what is best for its people . . . and free from the shackles of the European Union, it will be far better placed to deliver.

Why I believe the Thames Crossing proposal should be scrapped


Jill Seymour MEP, UKIP’s Transport Spokesman, has called on the Government to reject the proposed third Thames Crossing in Thurrock. She is the first national figure from any of the major political parties to call for the Thames Crossing proposal to be scrapped.

She said: “Air pollution in Thurrock is already appalling high. According to Government statistics, 6% of deaths are attributed to air pollution and these proposals are only likely to worsen the situation.

“Thurrock’s roads network is already over stretched, in many cases the increases in traffic is putting Thurrock in a dangerous position if emergency services are required to cross the borough quickly.

“The business case is flawed. The cost of £6bn returning only 5,000 jobs is not value for money at £1.2m per job. UKIP have previously called on Conservative to cut other failed transport policies such as HS2 and this appears to be another one of their white elephants.

“I call on Patrick McLoughlin MP and Lilian Greenwood MP to announce where their parties stand on the issue. I have a feeling the calls will be met with silence. It is a shame that only UKIP are willing to show national support against the project.”

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