WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE!


I set up this personal website over nine years ago to present a simple account of what I do.
Parliamentary Questions and Debates catalogues my work in the House of Lords.

You can also read about my other interests and various issues which concern me.

Richard Faulkner / House of Lords / London SW1A 0PW

RAILWAYS: NORTHERN ENGLAND

10 July 2017: Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty’s Government what support they are giving to connecting communities and economies in the north of England by the re-opening of railway lines.

during the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)
My Lords, I remind the House of my railway interests in the register. The Minister will be struck by the support that exists all over the House for the reopening of rural railway lines. Can I draw his attention to the Report by the Association of Train Operating Companies in 2009, which looked at communities with more than 15,000 inhabitants, and at the potential for reopening services where they used to exist? There were 14 lines of the highest priority where there was either an existing freight line or a disused line. No Government have yet acted on that report, so will the Minister now please have a look at it?

LOCAL ARTS & CULTURAL SERVICES - QUESTION FOR SHORT DEBATE

30 March 2017: The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they intend to take to protect and improve local arts and cultural services, including museums, libraries and archaeological services.

during the debate...

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: ....... I declare an unpaid interest as chair of a charity called Worcester Live, which is the main provider of the arts in the city. ....

Worcester Live exists for three reasons. First, it receives generous core funding support from Worcester City Council, which, per head of population, probably contributes more to the arts than any other district council. Secondly, it has a small number of wonderful individual benefactors, trusts and patrons. Thirdly, its productions and events are well-supported by local residents.

However, Worcester Live gets not a penny from the Arts Council, and that means that its finances are constantly on a knife edge. In my view, a disproportionate amount of arts money goes to London, and a huge percentage of it goes to classical music in one form or another—orchestras, opera and ballet—and to flagship ​venues, a point made earlier by the noble Baroness, Lady Murphy. I am far from convinced that the balance is entirely right, and I would like the Arts Council to recognise the value to local communities outside the south-east of popular non-elitist organisations such as the one that I am involved with.......

read contribution in full

see also item in Worcester News

DISABLED ACCESS: PUBLIC PREMISES

15 March 2017: Baroness Deech asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve accessibility for disabled people to public premises.

during the debate.....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)
My Lords, is the Minister aware that a significant number of Premier League football clubs will fail to honour the commitment that they gave in 2015 to make all their stadia disabled accessible by August 2017? Will he remind them that Section 20 of the 2010 Act is not an option but is mandatory? Will the Government empower the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to enforce the law and make sure that accessible stadia guidelines are observed?

to which Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth responded:
My Lords, the noble Lord is absolutely right and I know that he has raised this issue many times before. Some are of course stepping up to the plate and some are not. Some are partly there. I mention my own club, Leicester City, which I hope will do a bit more but is already part of the way there. I take the point seriously. I will write to him on his second point about enforcement because I am not sure where we are on that, but I agree that we need to keep their feet to the fire to make sure that they are performing.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION VISITS ST LUCIA



14 - 16 February 2017

Recently visited St Lucia as a member of a UK parliamentary delegation which hosted a two-day workshop for local parliamentarians.

Ahead of that session, the three-member delegation met with representatives of non-governmental organizations.

The two events are part of regular post elections parliamentary workshops conducted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

See local media coverage

HERITAGE RAILWAY ASSOCIATION AGM

11 February 2017: Addressed the AGM of the Railway Heritage Association in Wolverhanpton

Read full transcript of the speech here

HIGH SPEED RAIL (LONDON-WEST MIDLANDS) BILL

24 January 2017: Lord Bradshaw moved Clause 1: Power to construct and maintain works for Phase One of High Speed 2 - Amendment 1

speaking to this amendment Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)

Will the noble Earl take the trouble to read the very wise words of noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, who spoke a few moments ago about the consequences of accepting these amendments? If one of them were passed, the Bill would have to be re-hybridised. It would have to go back to the hybrid Bill Committee and months and months would be taken up by looking at the Bill again with these provisions in it.

I cannot believe that the House would want to do that, bearing in mind the exceptionally good job that the hybrid committee did. I see a number of its members are in the Chamber at the moment and they deserve the thanks of all of us for looking at this Bill in such detail and displaying such patience in listening to huge numbers of petitions and far too many lawyers who were presenting them on behalf of people with, in some cases, entirely spurious objections. The committee went through that very well and came up with a series of recommendations for change, and the Government, to their great credit, have accepted them all either in spirit or literally. The fact that the committee has done that job and we have a Bill to which we can give Third Reading and get work under way is very important.​

Old Oak Common is a wonderful place. It is where my great-grandfather lived in a Great Western Railway house when he was a top link driver on the railway in the early years of the 20th century. But it is not a place where people want to go when they are travelling on high-speed trains from Birmingham or the north of England. Indeed, the practicality of finishing a journey there has been addressed by Transport for London. It answers the point made by my noble friend Lord Berkeley about Crossrail. Yes, Crossrail is going really well and will be a great success. But when HS2 arrives at Old Oak Common, it is estimated that about a third of the passengers will get off, get on to Crossrail and go into the City. However, if they were all required to go on to the City, the difference between these two—HS2 terminating at Euston or at Old Oak Common—would, in the words of Transport for London, be the difference between Crossrail coping and Crossrail falling down. That would be the implication of accepting this amendment.

read this contribution



Amendment 2 moved by Lord Stevenson of Balmacara

speaking to this amendment Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)

My Lords, I pick up the theme of my noble friend Lord Snape and express my disappointment at the lack of ambition that some Members of this House seem to demonstrate towards our capacity as a nation to build wonderful railways. Some of the finest structures created in the 19th century were built by railway engineers, whether it was viaducts ​through the Peak District or magnificent railway stations. To have such a lack of ambition and to say, “Gosh, this new line must all go in tunnels because it’s going to be so obtrusive”, is very disappointing. Also, as my noble friend says, it is very expensive. I remember at one of the early briefing meetings given by Sir David Higgins I asked him, “Wouldn’t it be possible to reduce the cost of the project if we didn’t have so much tunnel in it?”. He said, “Yes, but I’m not allowed by the Government to answer that question”. I am not sure whether it was this Government or the previous one who made it impossible for him to answer, but it has undoubtedly added to the cost.

I also make a plea for the people who like travelling by train and love the Chilterns and want to be able to see them. There is no reason why we should not be able to see them rather than the inside of a tunnel from the railway. Look at the other engineering projects in the Chilterns. The M40 is a six-lane motorway which carved a swathe through the Chiltern escarpment, and probably the largest intrusion into an area of outstanding natural beauty in the south of England. There was a lot of objection. It is used by very large numbers of people, but it still causes an intrusion and environmental damage far greater than the two-track railway that we are discussing this evening. Wendover benefits from a new bypass, which is being constructed to one side of the existing Chiltern railway line and is producing a huge amount of noise and traffic. It is very nice for the town because traffic is taken out of the town, but the new railway is going to go alongside that as well. Why is that somehow unreasonable compared with the road that is already there?

The Chilterns are beautiful. The environment of the Chilterns will be enhanced by the building of the railway, and many more people will be able to enjoy them. There is no need for these amendments.

read this contribution

NATIONAL CITIZEN SERVICE BILL [HL] - REPORT STAGE

7 December 2016: Amendment 13 moved by Lord Faulkner of Worcester

After Clause 9, insert the following new Clause— “Heritage railways, tramways and inland waterways: NCS Trust programmes (1) Nothing in this Act shall prevent a young person from working as a volunteer on a heritage railway or tramway or an inland waterway, as part of a programme provided or arranged by the NCS Trust....
read more....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, I beg to move Amendment 13, which is similar but not identical to the amendment that I tabled in Committee. One important addition is the reference to inland waterways and I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, for raising in Committee the subject of young people working as volunteers on canals and other inland waterways. I am particularly grateful to him for putting his name to the amendment tonight.....
However, I need to share with your Lordships the serious problem facing industrial heritage activities—particularly on heritage railways - undertaken by young people as volunteers, as a result of an ancient piece of legislation: the Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act 1920. The Heritage Railway Association - and I declare an unpaid interest as its president - has received a very unwelcome opinion from leading counsel that the 1920 Act expressly excludes the employment of children in an industrial undertaking, not only as paid employees under a contract of employment but as volunteers as well.....

read contribution .....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: - withdrawing amendment 13

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, and my noble friend Lord Adonis for their splendidly supportive speeches on the amendment. The Minister’s response is more or less exactly what I expected; I was grateful to him for the opportunity to speak informally during the week about the way in which we might address these issues, and I am delighted to hear that contact has been made with the Office of Road and Rail. I am sure that we shall want to explore that route further. I hope that the Government will use their good offices ​and their best endeavours to bring the parties together to see whether it is possible to come to a solution. The All-Party Group on Heritage Rail met last week and heard a submission from the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard. He was apprised of this issue, and he appeared to be sympathetic, so it has been registered inside the Department for Transport as well. I hope that it will be possible and that, if it cannot be done in the Bill, the Government will be able to use a legislative opportunity to amend the section of the 1920 Act that is clearly causing all this difficulty. However, in that spirit of goodwill and with the approaching onset of the Christmas holiday, I am happy to beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 13 withdrawn.

TRAIN OPERATING COMPANIES

6 December 2016: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon):

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat in the form of a Statement the Answer given earlier ​today by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport to an Urgent Question on the Government’s plan for train operating companies

during the debate.....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester:
My Lords, I remind the House of my railway interests, as declared in the register. On the east-west route, the Oxford to Cambridge line, the Minister will know that it was the most inexplicable of all the post-Beeching closures. It was not even listed for closure in the Beeching report. It closed in 1967 at exactly the time that Milton Keynes was designated as a new city capable of taking 250,000 people. The East West Rail consortium has been campaigning for 47 years to reopen the line. Can he give an assurance that the announcement he has made today will not delay that a day longer than necessary.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon :
The noble Lord is right to point out the history behind this line. Indeed, it predates my life. Nevertheless, it is an important issue and today’s announcement underlines the Government’s commitment to ensuring delivery. We hope the new arrangement will, if anything, bring forward the construction that I have outlined today.

HISTORICAL SEXUAL ABUSE IN FOOTBALL

29 November 2016: Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat as a Statement the response to an Urgent Question given in the other place by Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for DCMS.

read the Statement in full .....

during the subsequent debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester
I too declare an unpaid interest as a vice-president of the National League, formerly known as the Football Conference. Does the Minister agree that one of the most worrying aspects of these dreadful allegations is the way that they were ignored by the football authorities when they were first made and that it is only as a result of the press coverage in the last few days that they have come to light? The Minister referred to other sports. Do the Government have any information about whether similar allegations are likely to be forthcoming concerning those sports? Will the helpline to which the Statement referred—its announcement is very welcome—be extended to help other people who may have experienced the same sort of event?

NATIONAL CITIZEN SERVICE BILL - GRAND COMMITTEE - 2nd DAY

22 November 2016: Amendment 50A moved by Lord Faulkner of Worcester

After Clause 9, insert the following new Clause — “Heritage railways and tramways: NCS programmes (1) Nothing in this Act shall prevent a young person from working as a volunteer on a heritage railway or tramway, as part of a programme provided or arranged by the NCS Trust ....
read complete text of amendment .....

later in the debate.....

Like every other noble Lord who has spoken, I warmly endorse the Bill’s objective of encouraging the participation of young people in projects and programmes that benefit them and our society in general. The purpose of my amendment is to ensure that in one particular sphere of activity these objectives and programmes are not unintentionally placed in jeopardy by the Bill. That sphere of activity relates to the operation of heritage railways and tramways.
read contribution .....

I am most grateful to the Minister, who has gone considerably further than I feared he might be able to this afternoon, particularly in reinforcing the point that there should be no barrier to young people volunteering their time to work on heritage railways. That sentence is extraordinarily helpful. I accept with great gratitude the offer to discuss this further with him before Report. I would love the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson, to be part of that discussion so that we can talk about volunteers on canals as well. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 50A withdrawn.
read more .....

UK BUSINESS DELEGATION TO TAIWAN

  20 November 2016:   In January this year, I was honoured to be asked by British Prime Minister Theresa May to be the first-ever UK trade envoy for Taiwan. The prime minister's instructions were clear - support economic growth by building on the UK's already strong relations with Taiwan, maximize bilateral trade, and generate real and long-term economic benefits for both markets.

It was in this role that I recently led a UK business delegation regarding sustainable railway development to Taiwan from 17 - 19 November. Comprising 17 companies and organizations the delegation was the largest railway mission ever to visit Taiwan.

The purpose of the visit was to meet with the Taiwan railway industry, share common experiences, and build ever-closer partnerships as Taiwan embarks on the latest stage of its exciting plans to develop a modern, safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly railway infrastructure truly befitting its vibrant and fast-moving economy.

The UK railway industry currently provides consultancy, signalling, track equipment, maintenance equipment, and certifications to Taiwan's railway sector.

Read my article from The China Post

DIDCOT RAILWAY CENTRE



11 August 2016: Visited the Museum and Archive at Didcot Railway Centre which holds a reserve collection of framed pictorial posters.

In the photograph is the quad-royal sized "London Pride" depicting the Palace of Westminster by Frank Mason in 1946.

Trustees and volunteers regularly work in the Annexe cataloging artefacts and performing conservation tasks.

Didcot Railway Centre is a former Great Western Railway engine-shed and locomotive stabling point which has been converted into a railway museum and preservation engineering site, and is home to the Great Western Society's unique collection of steam engines, coaches, wagons, buildings and small relics.


DISABILITY: FOOTBALL STADIUMS

13 October 2016: Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the Football Association Premier League fulfils its commitment to make all its clubs comply with the accessible stadia guidance by August 2017.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab) My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper, and in doing so I declare an interest as vice-president of the charity Level Playing Field.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord Ashton of Hyde) (Con):
My Lords, the Equality and Human Rights Commission is monitoring progress against the pledge made by Premier League member clubs to comply with the accessible stadia guidance, and has asked for regular reports on progress from the Premier League. The EHRC will write to each club to ensure that it does ​not renege on its commitment. If insufficient progress has been made, the EHRC will consider using its legal powers to ensure that clubs comply with their legal duties.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that helpful reply and I welcome his reference to the involvement of the EHRC. On 10 September 2015, partly in response to pressure from this House, the Premier League issued an unequivocal statement which said: “All Premier League Clubs have agreed to make their stadiums compliant with the Accessible Stadia Guide by August 2017”.
This summer, Premier League clubs spent more than £1 billion on transfer payments for players and the league as a whole sold its television rights for a record £5.14 billion. That is more than £10 million a match. Can the Minister think of any possible reason why the clubs should miss the deadline they imposed on themselves, as clearly shortage of money is not a factor?

read debate in full

LORD SPEAKER UNVEILS PLAQUE AT FIELDEN HOUSE

Visitors to Fielden House can now read about how this House of Lords building in Little College Street played a crucial part in the history of Britain’s railways in the run-up to World War Two.

Sited on the wall in the entrance hall is a plaque which was unveiled by the Lord Speaker, The Rt Hon the Lord Fowler, on 11 October 2016.

The plaque states that Fielden House was built in 1936-37 as the new headquarters for the London Midland and Scottish Railway property division and for the Railway Companies’ Association. It became the HQ of the Railway Executive Committee in the build up to the Second World War. The REC was responsible for coordinating Britain's private railway companies in time of war and were essential to the logistics of the war effort. The REC relocated to emergency bomb proof headquarters at Down Street Underground station on 3 September 1939......

The initiative for erecting the plaque was taken by Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Chairman of the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board and Deputy Chairman of the Science Museum Group.

Lord Faulkner comments: “It was originally intended that the entire wartime administration of the railways would be conducted from Fielden House, with the crucial telephone exchange in the basement. However it was decided that the building would be vulnerable to bombing, so the Railway Executive Committee moved out to the disused Down Street underground station, which it shared with Churchill’s wartime offices.

“In the event Fielden House escaped unscathed and the Scottish Office moved there about 1941 to 1955 after they were bombed out of Whitehall. The Church Commissioners leased it from 1955 to 2001. Parliament purchased it on a very long lease in January 2002 and occupied it in 2005.

....read more

REQUEST FOR DETAILS OF PRE-NATIONALISATION ARTEFACTS IN "STEAM WORLD"

"Recent pre-nationalisation artefacts found by "Steam World" readers on and around the present-day rail network have been noticed and appreciated by Lord Faulkner , the chairman of the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board, and Deputy Chairman of the Science Museum Group. "I was very interested to read your request to your readers to report examples of pre-nationalisation artefacts still in railway use

Photographs and location details of artefacts currently used by, or on the property of today's National Rail, should be sent to Sarah Norville, secretary of the RHDAB - email: sarah.norville@nrm.org.uk

Read article here

REVIEW OF "DISCONNECTED" IN THE RAILWAY MAGAZINE

A recent review in the September issue of The Railway Magazine of "Disconnected! Broken links in Britain's rail policy" co-authored by Chris Austin & myself

"‘Disconnected’ is a serious, thoroughly researched sequel to the authors’ "Holding the Line", published by OPC in 2012. Thus we learn how a civil servant and a respected railway journalist risked their careers by leaking details of the Serpell Report to the press, creating such a media outcry that the report’s proposals were thrown to the winds.

With assistance from Hansard and the National Archive Centre, the authors provide proof of the negative attitude to railways prevalent during the 1960s and ‘70s among civil servants and even at BRB HQ...."

read article in full here

SMOKING-RELATED DISEASES

14 September 2016: Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government what further action they are taking to reduce the incidence of smoking-related diseases.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab)

"My Lords, by way of prologue, I should explain that this debate was originally initiated not by me but by the noble Lord, Lord Young of Cookham. His new ministerial responsibilities—I warmly congratulate him on his appointment—preclude him from speaking this evening, but I am delighted to see him in his place on the Government Front Bench, and I know that his lifetime commitment to the cause of tobacco control is undimmed. When he asked me to take on the debate in his place, I was, of course, very happy to agree.

Underlying what we are discussing this evening is the inequality which continues to blight our society. In her initial speech as Prime Minister, Mrs May committed her Government to, “fighting against the burning injustice that, if you’re born poor, you will die on average 9 years earlier than others”.

Half of this difference in life expectancy is due solely to higher rates of smoking among the least affluent. This is an injustice that we cannot allow to continue.

Throughout my time in this House, I have spoken on tobacco control many times, as, indeed, have many of the other noble Lords contributing to this debate. We started with the Private Member’s Bill to abolish tobacco advertising and sponsorship, and the adoption of a smoke-free environment on the parliamentary estate. The UK has emerged as a world leader in tobacco control, with successive tobacco control plans, starting with Smoking Kills in 1999. Since then, the rate of smoking in England has declined by more than a quarter, to only 16.9% of the adult population in 2015...."

"My Question asks the Government what action they are taking to reduce incidence of smoking-related disease. As I have explained, the action needed is the publication of a new tobacco control plan for England without delay, with renewed and enhanced ambitions. Under the last plan we achieved a great deal and made large steps towards improving public health and we must not allow these achievements to go to waste. A new plan must build on the progress that has been made, continue to drive down smoking rates and protect our most disadvantaged from the burden of entirely preventable death and disease caused by tobacco."

read my contribution in full

COMMITTEE ON THE EQUALITY ACT 2010 AND DISABILITY REPORT

6 September 2016:
Baroness Deech moved that this House takes note of the Report from the Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability (Session 2015-16, HL Paper 117).

"My Lords, this Motion could not be more timely. I quote the Prime Minister, who said on her first day in office that we need to build a country that works for everyone. She said that every child should be allowed to rise as far as their talents ​will take them and that birth should never be a barrier. The Select Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability agrees. The Prime Minister has ordered an audit of the equality of treatment by public services. Our report was ahead of the game and delivers for the Government the very audit that she is seeking...."

read more.....

during the debate
Lord Faulkner of Worcester:

"My Lords, it has been almost as great a privilege to listen to this debate as it was to serve on the Select Committee. The debate has demonstrated the extraordinary range of experience ​that Members of your Lordships’ House bring to the subject of disability. I thank all noble Lords who have spoken and particularly those who have spoken from their own life experiences and brought that to bear on this subject. ......

Other Members have spoken about parts of the report and the Government’s response where they have their own areas of expertise and knowledge. I shall concentrate briefly—because time is getting on in this debate—on recommendations 21 and 22 relating to disabled access to sports grounds, which are covered in paragraphs 245 to 249 of the report. I remind the House of my interest as a vice-president of the charity Level Playing Field.

The noble Baroness, Lady Deech, the noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, my noble friend Lord Harrison and the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, all referred to the Accessible Sports Grounds Bill, which I took through this House in 2015. With the exception of the then Minister—not the Minister who will be replying tonight—whose approach in that debate can perhaps best be described as lukewarm, every Member who spoke in the Second Reading debate on 17 July was strongly supportive, particularly in respect of the principle that each stadium should follow accessible stadia guidelines and improve the experience for disabled people attending their matches.

While it was evident that the Bill would not make progress in the other place without government support, it produced one very positive consequence, and that was the response from the English Premier League on 10 September 2015, which stated:

“All Premier League Clubs have agreed to make their stadiums compliant with the Accessible Stadia Guide by August 2017. ​Clubs also agreed to ensure the appropriate number of wheelchair bays are located in their away sections (10% of their home provision)”.

If that commitment were fulfilled to the letter, it would represent a huge step forward by the best supported and most affluent clubs in British football, particularly if the lead given by the Premier League were followed by the other football leagues in England, Wales and Scotland, and sports with significant numbers of fans attending their matches. .....

It appears that at least seven Premier League clubs will not meet the pledge by August 2017, as had been promised. The excuses being put forward by clubs as to why they will not meet this are, frankly, unacceptable. Liverpool Football Club, for example, seems far more interested in providing general hospitality places than in installing sufficient disabled fans’ seats to comply with football’s own minimum standards. Those seats for disabled people would ensure that the club meets its pledge, but instead, its disabled fans are expected to wait for phase 2 of the stadium expansion—whenever that might be. Watford Football Club seems to be removing disabled fans’ seats at a time when we should be seeing an increase, and Crystal Palace believes that it needs only to come up with a plan by August 2017, rather than comply with a commitment...."

read my contribution to the debate in full

15 September 2016: See joint press release from Level Playing Field and the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

LORD SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS, BARONESS D'SOUZA, WITH HER DEPUTY SPEAKERS

20 July 2016:
Recently issued photograph of the retiring Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness D'Souza with her deputy Speakers.

Lord Fowler has been appointed as the next Speaker of the House of Lords following the election that took place on Wednesday 8 June 2016.

Lord Fowler is the third elected Lord Speaker since the post was established in 2006, the first being Baroness Hayman.

Lord Fowler succeeds Baroness D’Souza and will take up the post on 1 September 2016. He will preside over a sitting of the House of Lords for the first time on 5 September 2016.