SERA has condemned the Government’s announcement this week (27th November 2014) that the East Coast Mainline rail service will be re-privatised.
“The publicly run East Coast Mainline has returned £800 million to the public purse since it was brought back into public ownership. Instead of being the victim of a pre-election fire-sale, it should be the model for running other railways in the UK.” SERA co-chair Melanie Smallman said.
Michael Dugher, the Shadow Transport Secretary, has slammed the situation as “absurd”, pointing out that the current successful operator, East Coast, was not allowed to bid for the new franchise as it is a public not private body.
“It’s absurd that our own public operator is the only rail company in the world that has been barred from challenging to run its own services, on the ideological grounds that it is British and publicly owned.”
For the past two years, SERA has been campaigning for public sector operators, as well as cooperatively owned not-for profits organisations, to be allowed to bid for franchises when they expire. Michael Dugher MP reconfirmed Labour’s commitment to this position today saying
“Labour is committed to legislating to allow a not-for-profit public sector operator to take on and challenge train operators on a level playing field, safeguarding taxpayer and passenger interests and putting in place a system that is fit for purpose.”
Read more about Labour’s National Policy Forum position on transport here http://www.yourbritain.org.uk/agenda-2015/policy-commissions/living-standards-and-sustainability-policy-commission
Read more about SERA’s proposals for a cooperative and mutual railways for Wales here: http://www.party.coop/files/2012/11/Welsh-Rail-pamphlet-online.pdf.pdf.pdf.pdf