Letter to the Streatham Guardian about Thameslink

Chuka Umunna wrote the following letter for today’s edition of the Streatham Guardian:

Our Thameslink services connect Streatham with the rest of London. During these difficult economic times they are a lifeline for our local businesses and for those looking for work. They are essential for the convenience of local residents and those who need the service to travel in to work.

Our Thameslink services are now under threat. There is a strong possibility that the LibDem/Conservative Government will decide to stop services that run straight from Streatham into the City, North London and Luton – Streatham’s primary cross London connection. Instead, our services may terminate at Blackfriars. The current consultation the Government is running on the issue is set to close on the 23rd August.

Far too many people, including many who use the service, did not know that this consultation was taking place. To compensate, the Department for Transport has indicated that it may accept responses to the consultation after the closing date and I have written urgently to the Secretary of State to clarify that this will be the case and also, importantly, that these responses will have equal weight.

I have been campaigning on this issue since 2008 and have had meetings with ministers in the last administration and in this Government, in addition to raising numerous parliamentary questions on the issue, pressing the case for our area. I hope that either the Secretary of State or another member of the Ministerial Team will agree to my urgent request to meet for an update meeting.

The stripping back of our Thameslink services would be totally unacceptable. It is essential that as many people as possible respond to this consultation, whether after the official deadline or not. I hope as many people as possible will join me in writing in the strongest terms. We must not leave Government ministers in any doubt: they cannot – and should not – ignore our local transport needs when they decide upon the future of Thameslink.

See this website post for the background to this issue. 

For more information on the Consulation, including how to respond, use this link.