Maria: Privatisation has been a disaster

10 September 2013

Maria Eagle, the Shadow Transport Secretary, has described rail privatisation as a disaster and promised that the next Labour government will restructure the railways in Britain.

Speaking at a packed Action for Rail Question Time fringe meeting at the TUC in Bournemouth, on a platform with ASLEF national organiser Simon Weller, Maria said: ‘Rail privatisation has been a disaster. The Rebuilding Rail report calculates that £1.2bn a year is being wasted. Our railway is 30% less efficient than any other railway in Europe. The numbers are difficult because the industry is opaque; I struggle to get numbers because of “commercial confidentiality”. But we know fare payers are paying 1% a year above inflation, having done so for many years, and it is the economics of the mad house.

‘The next government has some real opportunities to make some serious decisions about the future of the rail industry. But we have to win the next election – and persuade a few people in the Labour Party. But we have a really strong case.

‘It’s right to consider the structure of the railways in Britain and whether there is a better way of doing things. I am convinced of that but I have to convince others in the Labour Party. I hope we can go to the country next time with an offer that is different from the past and is distinct from this government.’

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