Network Rail transparency challenged

14 March 2012

Parliament’s Public Accounts committee today complained about Network Rail’s ‘lack of accountability and transparency’. It insisted that NR should be fully accountable to both Parliament and the tax-payer. ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan has offered a ‘painfully simple’ solution for the politicians. ‘Make it publicly owned,’ he says. ‘That way you have control over it and oblige it to be open.

‘You can’t have it both ways,’ Mick says. ‘If you sell something off and make it a private company, you lose control over it. That isn’t a hard concept to grasp, is it? If you sell your car, you hand over control of where it goes. It’s the same with railways.’

Transport Minister Norman Baker suggested that it was possible to use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain information about Network Rail, a proposal that Mick says is ‘ridiculous even by the standards of this government’.

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