ASLEF condemns Scottish rail franchise award

08 October 2014

ASLEF has condemned the rushed decision to award a 10-year ScotRail franchise to run from spring next year.

Mick Whelan, ASLEF's general secretary, had called on MSPs at Holyrood to postpone any decision until after the new Scotland Act gives the power to the Scottish government to provide ScotRail services in the public sector. The decision, to be announced officially today by Transport Minister Keith Brown, awards the £2.5 billion franchise to Abellio.

Mick said: ‘Once again the taxpayer is being ripped off and we are going to see more public money hemorrhage from the system for another 10 years. It’s also a particularly perverse decision by the SNP government in Scotland which was arguing for independence, and is getting many more devolved powers, to embrace privatisation and all that means rather than wait a few months, take a fresh look at the opportunities for rail services in Scotland, and then, instead of acting in such a precipitate fashion, make a considered decision next year.

‘There is an enormous public appetite for public ownership and we have seen, with the East Coast, how successful a publicly-owned and publicly-run railway can be. It is also ironic that the SNP government at Holyrood, like the Conservatives at Westminster, are happy to have a state-owned railway running a franchise as long as it is a foreign state – Abellio is owned by the Dutch government – rather than our own state.’

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