Rail fares minister shuns train in favour of chauffeur-driven car
Rail fares minister Simon Burns is under fire after it emerged he shuns commuting by train in favour of a chauffeur-driven government car.
According to the Mail on Sunday, the Conservative MP travels the 35 miles between his Essex home and Westminster using an
£80,000-a-year departmental car service.
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."
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Labour MP Fabian Hamilton, who uncovered the arrangement through a parliamentary question, told the Mail on Sunday: "This looks to be an extremely poor use of taxpayers' money, and a very bad example for a minister to set."
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."
Transport minister Stephen Hammond revealed details about the department's travel arrangements in parliamentary documents.
He said: "With the introduction of a departmental pool car service on 1 April 2012, individual ministers are no longer allocated government cars. The Secretary of State (Patrick McLoughlin) and Minister of State use the pool cars on a daily basis. I use the pool cars
occasionally and also use the top-up service as business requires it.
"The Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Norman Baker, used the car on an extremely occasional basis for journeys of less than three miles, the last date being 20 November 2012."