National Audit Office slams Grayling

28 March 2018

The National Audit Office investigation into the Department for Transport’s controversial decision to cancel three rail electrification projects is published at midnight tonight.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said: ‘We welcome the results of this investigation into the DfT’s decision to cancel three major rail electrification projects – the Great Western main line in South Wales, the Midland main line, and the Lakes line between Windermere and Oxenholme – because the decision to renege on this Conservative Party pledge was as perverse and ridiculous as it was indefensible. This country needs a modern railway, and a proper infrastructure, fit for the 21st century.

‘It is clear from the conclusions of the National Audit Office investigation that Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, lied. The truth is that the government didn’t want to find the money and made up a story about “sudden improvements” using “state of the art bi-mode trains”. It’s a fantasy, an exercise in smoke and mirrors, to disguise the truth, and Mr Grayling has been rumbled by the NAO.

‘The Prime Minister has her fingerprints on this as well. The NAO says she took the decision to cancel the Cardiff to Swansea project in July last year. So the Prime Minister, Transport Secretary and DfT are saying that the people of South Wales don’t count. They should do the right thing and electrify the line to Swansea; address the historical underfunding of the Welsh rail network; and honour the agreement made with the Welsh government to secure a new and sustainable franchise for Wales and the Borders. And, after this damning report, electrify the Midland main line and Lakes line, too. Which is what they promised at the general election.’

Mick added: ‘How many failures can one man take and still be in position? Mr Grayling was condemned in another NAO report in January over his handling of GTR. He clearly has to consider his position.’

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