Transport Secretary tells LBC people can claim refunds for cancelled Christmas trips

21 December 2020, 08:35 | Updated: 21 December 2020, 08:50

By Maddie Goodfellow

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told LBC that the government will allow people to claim refunds for cancelled Christmas travel plans, saying it is the "right and decent thing to do".

Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, Mr Shapps said: "I am organising for people to get their travel tickets for trains and coaches refunded in cash so they are not out of pocket.

"Because after all we did hope and say that people would have the opportunity to travel during the Christmas bubble.

"To be clear, these are tickets booked from the 23 to 27 December, the period in which you were going to be able to travel, and they would need to be booked after the 28 November, when we announced Christmas travel would be the case."

Nick Ferrari then pushed the minister on this, asking if there is a ceiling on this refund system.

"If I had booked tickets to Northumberland, I get my money back?" Nick asked.

"Yes, that's right. As long as it was within that period."

The minister also clarified that any tickets booked after the Prime Minister's announcement on Saturday will not apply.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps spoke with Nick Ferrari
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps spoke with Nick Ferrari. Picture: LBC

It comes after Boris Johnson's announcement on Saturday that aside from a small number of exemptions, it is illegal to enter or leave a Tier 4 area, which covers 18 million people across London, the South East and East of England.

The government say these strict restrictions are needed to stop the spread of the faster-spreading mutant coronavirus strain.

Explained: What are the new Tier 4 restrictions?

In addition, the government changed Christmas relaxation of rules from five days, as originally stated, to just Christmas day with no overnight visits in a bid to control the spread.

People are also being advised to "keep it small and local".

Nick then questioned the minister on how much this scheme is likely to cost.

"I don't know the exact figure, because the train companies have taken the booking separately," Mr Shapps stated.

"I think it's really important after guiding people to book during that time and saying the would be able to travel that they now aren't out of pocket.

"It is the right and decent thing to do and I hope that the train system will be able to take their business some other time when we are all able to travel again."

Asked how people get their refunds, Mr Shapps said: "People go to the usual reclaim area on the train operating company's website and that's where you can claim the refund."