On Wednesday Labourcalled an opposition day debate to hold the Government to account for its disastrous handling of our railway systems.Click aboveto see thespeech I gavein the House of Commons on the rail franchising disaster.
The way the Tories run our railways is an absolute national scandal. Time and time again taxpayers are expected to bail out private rail companies when they fail yet the Government continues to prop them up. Now the Transport Minister has promised to bail out Virgin Trains and Stagecoach, who run the East Coast mainline, to the tune of almost £2bn in taxpayers’ money. Yet again the Government have managed to find the money to clean up a mess they created but still insist that there is no additional money for vital public services.
When I gave my speech Ministers shockingly continued to claim that the operators have met their commitments despite the company defaulting on their agreement to run the franchise three years earlier than agreed! It’s time to do things differently.
This has got to stop. It’s time we took our railways back into public ownership, and run them not for profit but for the passengers. Only a Labour Government will make this happen.