Labour sets out plans for rail nationalisation

29 Sep 15

Labour plans to accelerate the nationalisation of rail services by using break clauses in franchises to take operations into public ownership rather than waiting until the contracts expire.

In a statement released by the party’s national executive committee today, the party announced a new rail task force would look at how services could be nationalised.
As well as allowing services to be taken over when the contracts expire, this would include using any break clauses “to accelerate this process when this is in the interests of passengers and taxpayers”.

To do this, the party would create a new public operator of rail services to take over provision, and would also oppose any break-up or privatisation of state-owned infrastructure operator Network Rail.

There would also be the creation of a so-called guiding mind for the industry, which would seek to ensure that the new nationalised operator cooperated closely with Network Rail and other interested parties such as Transport for London and other regional transport bodies.

Speaking at the party conference in Brighton, shadow transport secretary Lilian Greenwood said that the railways were currently fragmented, and the franchising system “broken”.
“Twenty years ago we were told that privatisation would deliver cheaper tickets and lower subsidies. But we have been left with some of the most expensive fares in Europe, and an efficiency gap of 40%.”
It was now time for railways to be in public ownership so they are run in the public interest with affordable fares, she added.

“I want a new deal for the railways, with a strong voice for passengers, a modern intercity identity, an established London Overground and devolution for other local networks, putting commuters first.”

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