HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 cc870-1W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy that rail journeys undertaken by staff in his Department should ordinarily be on standard class tickets. [40449]

Mr. McCartney

DWP staff are advised to use the most efficient and economic means of travel having regard to the management benefit and the needs of disabled people. The guidance issued has regard to these principles outlined in section 8 of the Civil Service Management Code.

Within DWP the use of public transport is encouraged as part of our environmental programme and rail travel is ordinarily standard class. However, senior executive officer grades and above who are a minority of the total number of staff undertaking business journeys in DWP are entitled to travel first or executive class as one of their 'Terms and Conditions' of Employment. This is approved on the basis that the additional space and less crowding enables these people to work while they are travelling as well as affording greater privacy for the handling of sensitive papers. For long distance peak-time services the additional cost involved is more than offset by the work produced and time saved. All staff are expected to travel standard class when the length of the journey is insufficient to enable them to work productively.