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Exclusive: Transport secretary claims more expenses for air travel than public transport

TRANSPORT Secretary Grant Shapps has claimed more in expenses for car and air travel in the last decade than he has for journeys on the public transport system he now oversees, the Morning Star can reveal.

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) records show that Mr Shapps has made almost 500 expense claims for transport since 2010 – just one of them was for a journey on public transport.

The revealing figures suggest the Tory minister is out of touch with commuters who will see rail fares rise again by 2.7 per cent from January if his party remains in government.

Mr Shapps has tried to boost his green credentials since being appointed to the Cabinet by PM Boris Johnson in September by promising to reopen rail lines axed by Beeching and buying an electric car.

But his expense claims over the past decade suggest his travel habits are far from green.   

The last claim he made for public transport was a return journey from Hatfield to Westminster in May 2010 which cost £21.50.

By comparison, Mr Shapps has charged taxpayers over £7,500 for journeys by car – a full 350 times more.

That was made up of just under 500 claims for around 4,000 miles worth of journeys by car.  

The last time Mr Shapps filed a claim for a journey not made by car was in August 2013.
 
That was a £1,261 air fare between New York and London so he could support former PM David Cameron’s failed attempt to get a recalled Parliament’s backing for bombing in Syria.
 
Expenses records shows Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald makes most of his journeys by rail.

Since becoming the MP for Middlesborough in 2012, he has claimed for 24 journeys by car – including just one in the past three years.
 
Labour has announced plans to slash rail fares in England by a third from January if it wins the general election – saving the average commuter £1,097 a year. 

Rail travel would also become free for under-16s under the party’s plans for an integrated and publicly owned rail system.
 
Mr Shapps was not available for comment.

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