Bill Esterson: Government should look into bringing railways bac

Bill Esterson


Sefton CentraL Labour MP Bill Esterson has called on the Tory-Lib Dem Government to look into bringing the railways back into public ownership in the wake of the West Coast mainline debacle.
The government's mismanagement of the West Coast Mainline cost the tax payer more than £40million.
In response to the statement from the secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, Bill Esterson said: “The failure of the rail franchising system has wasted £40million of public money. In contrast, the East Coast mainline franchise is run in house by a publicly owned not for profit company and has saved nearly £200 million. Doesn’t the experience of the East Coast franchise show that it is time to consider bringing the West Coast franchise back in house along with the other franchises before any more public money is wasted?"
Speaking afterwards, Bill said lessons needed to be learned from the expensive West Coast mainline mistake.
Bill said: "The government's handling of this whole business has been absolutely shambolic. The time has now come to have a fresh look at the whole rail system.
"While on the one hand the government wasted £40million on the West Coast mainline franchise fiasco, on the other the East Coast mainline franchise is being run with savings of £200million.
"The East Coast franchise is run by a publicly owned not for profit company. They are efficient and have proven how effectively a publicly owned company can run a rail network.
"We need to look at the East Coast as a potential model for the rest of the network's franchises.
"Passengers are paying staggering amounts of money to private companies for tickets on our railways, while the tax payer is subsiding the running of the same networks. Passengers are paying twice for an expensive service which the rest of us are also having to pay for.
"This is not effective, it is not efficient, and it is lining the pockets of wealthy business owners at the expense of the taxpayer. It cannot go on."
Bill said the wasted £40million could have been used to save vital services from the Tory-Lib Dem cuts.
Bill said: "At a time when the government is wielding the axe, just imagine what that wasted £40m could have been spent on. It could have saved every library in the country which is currently under threat because of Tory-Lib Dem cuts.
"It could have gone to improve our public transport system here in Sefton Central which is suffering because Merseytravel's budget has been savagely cut by the Tories and Lib Dems.
"It could have gone to save some of the vital services in Sefton Central which are under threat because the Tories and Lib Dems are slashing the council's budget.
"It could have been used to create much needed jobs in our communities.
"This has been an expensive mistake which the government needs to learn from. It is a mistake which must never happen again."

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