The Government’s current model of rail franchising is not delivering the best deal for passengers or taxpayers, and that is why I support public ownership of the railways.
Rail fares have risen by 20 per cent on average since 2010 and British passengers are now paying the highest rail fares in Europe. The Government’s chaotic franchising system has seen millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money lost through the West Coast Main Line franchising process while the successful East Coast franchise has been sold off despite returning £1 billion to the UK taxpayer while in public control.
The Government has also recently dropped promised improvements to the rail network such as the electrification of the Midland Main Line and the Trans-Pennine route between Leeds and Manchester, which I know will add to the frustration of passengers that use these lines.
I believe the Government urgently need to tackle rising fares and ensure that there is a better deal for passengers and taxpayers. In the long term, though, I believe that the only way this country can have the world-class rail system it deserves is to take it out of private hands. I know that the majority of the British public agree with me on this.