Wednesday, 1 July 2009

GREENS WELCOME PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF EAST COAST RAIL SERVICE

The Green Party is today welcoming the Government's move to bring back into public ownership the East Coast mainline, from National Express, but is repeating its call for the full re-nationalisation of the railways.

Whilst the Government has today announced that the East Coast mainline service is to be brought back into public ownership, but there remains doubt as to whether this will be permanent or if another franchise bid could succeed given the financial trouble that has hit National Express. And whilst National Express has lost the service annoucned today, under cross-default clauses, the Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis, could strip National Express of all its contracts, now that the group has handed back one franchise. In Eastern Region this would include the Southend line and the main Norwich-London line and connecting branch lines.

The Green Party remains the only major party in Britain to consistently call for the full re-nationalisation of the railways.

Rupert Read, candidate for Norwich North and Green Party spokesperson on public services, said:

"Train privatisation, from the beginning, was a very flawed model. We can't keep socialising private companies' losses and privatising their profits. We need a national train network under direct public control and with full public accountability.

National Express must pay back whatever monies are outstanding from their rail franchise of the East Coast Main Line - it would be quite wrong for National Express to continue to profit on some lines, while the taxpayer has to foot the bill on others. To use the Government's own rhetoric, this should be a zero-tolerance issue."

Sir Richard Branson, co-owner of the Virgin West Coast franchise, has expressed an interest in bidding for the East Coast franchise if it became available.

Rupert Read responded to this by saying

"Virgin would then have control of England-Scotland services, as well as London to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Doncaster. The entire idea of privatisation was to inject competition, and this would be substituting a public monopoly for a private monopoly. That cannot be allowed to happen, and as a Green MP for Norwich North, I would be absolutely steadfast in resisting it."

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The Green Party is today welcoming the Government's move to bring back into public ownership the East Coast mainline, from National Express, but is repeating its call for the full re-nationalisation of the railways.

Whilst the Government has today announced that the East Coast mainline service is to be brought back into public ownership, but there remains doubt as to whether this will be permanent or if another franchise bid could succeed given the financial trouble that has hit National Express. And whilst National Express has lost the service annoucned today, under cross-default clauses, the Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis, could strip National Express of all its contracts, now that the group has handed back one franchise. In Eastern Region this would include the Southend line and the main Norwich-London line and connecting branch lines.

The Green Party remains the only major party in Britain to consistently call for the full re-nationalisation of the railways.

Rupert Read, candidate for Norwich North and Green Party spokesperson on public services, said:

"Train privatisation, from the beginning, was a very flawed model. We can't keep socialising private companies' losses and privatising their profits. We need a national train network under direct public control and with full public accountability.

National Express must pay back whatever monies are outstanding from their rail franchise of the East Coast Main Line - it would be quite wrong for National Express to continue to profit on some lines, while the taxpayer has to foot the bill on others. To use the Government's own rhetoric, this should be a zero-tolerance issue."

Sir Richard Branson, co-owner of the Virgin West Coast franchise, has expressed an interest in bidding for the East Coast franchise if it became available.

Rupert Read responded to this by saying

"Virgin would then have control of England-Scotland services, as well as London to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Doncaster. The entire idea of privatisation was to inject competition, and this would be substituting a public monopoly for a private monopoly. That cannot be allowed to happen, and as a Green MP for Norwich North, I would be absolutely steadfast in resisting it."
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