New drive for renationalisation as great rail rip-off hits £1.2 billion a year
- Published on Friday, 18 January 2013 12:17
- Posted by Vicki Mitchem
20 years after legislation paving the way for the privatisation of Britain's railways was passed by John Major's Tory Government on the 19th January 1993, rail union RMT has set out the case for public ownership with a pledge to step up the campaign for renationalisation:
- Privatisation has cost passengers more. Since 1995 the average ticket price has increased by 22% in real terms. Britain has Europe's highest commuter fares for both day returns and season tickets.
- Privatisation has made the railway more difficult to use. 35% of train users and 64% of non-users don't understand the rail ticketing system.
- Privatisation has put passengers in the slow lane. Britain lower coverage of electrification and high speed rail compared to similar countries in Europe.
- Privatisation has cost the tax payer more. The cost of running the railway has more than doubled since privatisation from £2.4bn during the five year period 1990/91 – 1994/95 to around 5.4bn per year during 2005 - 2010. It is estimated that privatisation costs the equivalent of £1.2bn a year compared to public ownership.
- Other European countries have better railways and lower fares because on the whole their services are in the public sector. But publicly owned railways are threatened by EU austerity and privatisation. Unless member states object, EU directives will soon come into force that will force countries to tender and break up their rail services.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
"20 years after John Major's Tory Government embarked on the rail privatisation nightmare, the case for public ownership is overwhelming and it is no surprise that 70% of the British people now support RMT's call for full renationalisation. It is time for the political class, including the Labour Party, to wake up to some hard truths.
"From the fares rip-off, to the Railtrack disaster and to the £1.2billion bled out of the system every year by the spivs and speculators there is nowhere to hide for the politicians and train operators who have turned Britain's railways into a state-sponsored racket.
"The West Coast Mainline fiasco reinforced what the vast majority of people know; that this privatisation disaster is beyond reform and the return of the railways to public ownership, run as a public service, is the only solution."