RMT Demands Public Sector Option In Government Franchise Review
RAIL UNION RMT today demanded that the review of franchising in the wake of the West Coast fiasco, being undertaken by Eurostar CEO Richard Brown, examine in full the cheaper and more efficient option of renationalisation. The DfT statement on the franchising review said:
The second independent review will be undertaken by Eurostar chairman Richard Brown CBE, and examine the wider rail franchising programme. It will look in detail at whether changes are needed to the way risk is assessed and to the bidding and evaluation processes, and at how to get the other franchise competitions back on track as soon as possible. This will report back by the end of December.
However, in striking out the popular option of public ownership, the Department has ignored the fact that Eurostar International Limited – which Richard Brown runs - is 40% owned by the UK Government/DfT (through London & Continental Railways Limited), 55% by the French Government and 5% by the Belgian Government. According to the company returns, it appears that Eurostar could pay dividends but doesn't, presumably because it's publicly owned, and the returns show that they haven't paid any dividends out up until March 2012.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“In light to the West Coast fiasco it would be an absolute disgrace if the most popular option, public ownership, was ignored. Not least because the man carrying out the review runs a fully state-owned railway.
“Opinion polls and online surveys now show that between 70 and 90% of the British people support full renationalisation of the railways.
“It’s not the evaluation or the franchising model that’s wrong, it’s the whole greed-driven, free-for-all of privatisation that has brought Britain’s railways to their knees and turned us into a global laughing stock.
“Some shabby little whitewash that doesn’t examine the cheaper and more efficient model of public ownership would doom us to repeat the failures on the West Coast time and time again until the political class wake up to reality.”