GS says McNulty is ‘sticking plaster’, not solution

08 March 2012

The long awaited Government response to the McNulty report was announced today with Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening outlining how the Government plans to cut billions of pounds from the rail industry budget. She’s also set up consultations on rail fares and devolution of rail services to local authorities.

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said ‘My union has long accepted that the railway needs to deliver more value for money and agree with Sir Roy’s analysis that structural fragmentation is the cause of the industry’s high costs.’

Mick added ‘The problem is neither Sir Roy nor the Government in the Command Paper offer any remedy for these structural failings. Giving operators longer franchises and more commercial freedom while cutting station staff and guards on trains will deliver blunt, short-term savings, very little new investment and further hit passengers in the pocket. It’s a sticking plaster solution.’

Greening said that the plans are the start of a process of reform which will see new franchises determined on an individual basis alongside closer alliances between operators and Network Rail in each region.

Mick continued ‘I regret that the proposals offer no long term or sustainable vision for the railway and merely entrench the deeply flawed franchising system and the scandal of the rolling stock companies as well as threatening rural services.

'It’s a sad fact that the whole Command Paper concentrates on reducing the government subsidy rather than addressing itself to cutting passenger fares or improving quality of service.'

On a more positive note Mick said ‘if devolution can bring more integration at a regional level ASLEF will welcome this.’

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