Grant Shapps releases cringeworthy promotional video for 'Great British Rail Sale'
The Transport Secretary has slashed the price of railway tickets to tackle the cost-of-living crisis
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has released a bizarre promotional video announcing the slashing of the price of over one million train tickets dubbed the "Great British Rail Sale".
The advertisement, styled as an infomercial from the 1980s, has the cabinet minister appear in a casual khaki shirt and hoodie in front of a green screen.
The background then changes to different locations across England, promoting places Brits could travel to at lower fares.
With Scottish hills behind him, Mr Shapps says: "Why not take a trip to Edinburgh to take in the sweeping views from Arthur's Seat?"
As he removes his jacket, the backdrop changes to a beach and he says: "Or if it's sea and sand that you want, well head to Cornwall. With its stretches of beautiful sand and crashing waves."
As he refers to the end of Covid-19 restrictions, he says: "We've had two years of living life virtually.
"It is time to get real and visit our beautiful country."
Social media users were quick to react to the cringeworthy video.
Writer Kit de Waal said: “Excellent stuff here from the ‘never do it like this’ video training school.”
One person under the username @AdmiralBooth said: “Why does [Shapps] slip so easily into the role of dodgy pyramid scheme salesman?”.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is hoping the move will help hard-pressed households, facing rising bills and soaring inflation, to afford trips across the UK and boost domestic tourism.
Tickets were set to be available on selected advance fares from 10am, with passengers able to purchase them from the National Rail website, the Rail Delivery Group said.
In a statement Mr Shapps said: “For the first time ever, operators across the rail industry are coming together to help passengers facing rising costs of living by offering up to 50% off more than a million tickets on journeys across Britain.
“There’s no better time to visit friends, family or just explore our great country, so book your tickets today.”
Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We want everyone to be able to benefit from travelling by train because it’s more than just a journey, it’s a way to connect everyone to the people, places and things they love.
“As part of the Great British Rail Sale customers will enjoy over one million discounted tickets, so they can explore some of the fantastic locations that are accessible by rail.”
Other journey savings expected include a single from York to Leeds being reduced to £2.80 from £5.60, London to Cardiff being cut from £47 to £25 and Portsmouth Harbour to Penzance going down to £22 from £45.70.
The DfT said reforms to the rail sector through the so-called Williams-Shapps plan for rail will mean that network-wide sales of tickets should be able to take place more easily in the future.
Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said the discounts this spring will be “small comfort to passengers” after years of “soaring fares”.
She said: “A decade of brutal Tory fare hikes have priced people off our railways.
“This temporary respite will be small comfort to passengers who had thousands taken out of their pockets from soaring fares since 2010.
“And the decision to end the sale just before half-term will mean many families face the same punishing costs over the holidays.
“Working people are facing the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades, and the Conservatives have chosen to hike up taxes and reject a windfall tax on the soaring profits of oil and gas giants.
“Labour would help working people – with a fully-funded plan to cut up to £600 off of household bills.”