Rail fares minister under fire over travel expenses

09:06 06 January 2013

Simon Burns reportedly travels to Westminster by car rather than the train. File picture: PA Wire

Simon Burns reportedly travels to Westminster by car rather than the train. File picture: PA Wire

Conservative cabinet minister Simon Burns is under fire after it emerged he takes a chauffeur driven car to work in London rather than take the train.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the MP travels the 35 miles between his Essex home and Westminster using an £80,000-a-year departmental car service.

The disclosure comes just days after inflation-busting average rises of 4.2 per cent for regulated rail fares, which include season tickets, took effect for passengers.

A spokesman for passengers’ campaign group Railfuture told the newspaper: “It would be nice if the person who is setting these fare rises was also experiencing some of the congestion and overcrowding endured by ordinary, hard-pressed travellers.”

Mr Burns reportedly defended his regular use of the Department for Transport pool car by saying: “I have given up my second home in London and I commute to and from work carrying classified papers which I work on during my journey.”

Cabinet Office officials confirmed last night that there were no restrictions on ministers taking the “red boxes” that contain their government papers on public transport.

Transport minister Stephen Hammond revealed details about the department’s travel arrangements in parliamentary documents.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said non-classified documents could be taken on public transport.

She added: “The Ministerial Code provides for ministers to use a government car for home-to-office travel when working on classified papers.”

A DfT spokesman said: “The Minister of State does not have a home in London but uses his commute to work on official papers and so travels in a car provided by the government Car Service for security reasons.

“The Ministerial Code permits ministers to use official cars for home-to-office journeys within a reasonable distance of London when they are working on classified papers.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Friday, June 24, 2016
The protest is marching on the Shard (Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Images)

Pro-EU protesters are planning to march to the headquarters of Rupert Murdoch’s News UK. where pro-Brexit tabloid The Sun is based, this evening.

Friday, June 24, 2016
As June 24 is widely hailed as Independence Day, should London go it alone?  (Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

As most of the UK voted for Brexit, two significant areas voted overwhelming to remain in the Union: Scotland, and London.

Friday, June 24, 2016
Londoners are despairing at news Britain has voted to leave the EU (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

London is in a state of ‘shock’ and ‘sadness’ after Britain voted in favour of leaving the EU and David Cameron resigned. The capital found itself largely irrelevant after Vote Leave celebrated much larger wins than expected. Across 33 boroughs, 59.9% (2.26 million) voted to remain in the EU - in some areas, the remain vote was more than 70 per cent. This is what Londoners had to say...

Friday, June 24, 2016
UKIP Leader Nigel Farage speaking in London where he claimed victory for the Leave campaign (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

Britain is set to leave the EU after the Leave campaign was declared winners of this historic referendum.

Thursday, June 23, 2016
A wry sign was stuck in the window of the Methodist Central Hall polling station in Westminster as Londoners headed to the polls this morning (Picture: PA Wire)

It is EU Referendum day and the rain is pouring, but Londoners are still flocking to polling stations to ensure their voices are heard. Follow us here throughout the day for updates on exit polls and some great pictures of #dogsatpollingstations in the capital.

Thursday, June 23, 2016
Double trouble (Photo: @ScrappyN)

As Britain goes to the polls to vote in the EU Referendum, so do Britain’s dogs.

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Copyright: Erich Spiegelhalter/Schwarzwald

Embark on a three day round trip (including flights) during which you will taste local specialities such as the famous Black Forest Gateau, discover nature, absorb vibrant city culture, learn about technological innovations, indulge yourself in the plentiful wellness spas, take some shots on the golf course, and enjoy family fun at Germany’s largest theme park.

Read more
£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport