20 years of failed privatisation

05 November 2013

Tuesday 5 November marks twenty years since the government passed the short-sighted Railways Act, which permitted the breaking-up and selling-off of the UK rail network. To mark the twentieth anniversary of privatisation, campaigners for public ownership of the railways are protesting today at more than 30 stations across the country.


Mick Whelan, General Secretary, and Simon Weller, National Organiser, were among the campaigners at Euston station this morning.


“Privatisation has proved to be a disaster for this country. Even Margaret Thatcher, that arch advocate of privatisation, admitted that privatisation of the railway was ‘a privatisation too far. Privatised train companies think the public should pay for the investment while they make a private profit. It’s a disgrace” said Mick.


The Action for Rail campaign (ASLEF, RMT, TSSA, TUC, Unite) highlights the failures of rail privatisation:

· Twenty years on from rail privatisation the UK has the most expensive train fares in Europe, with average ticket prices rising nearly three times faster than wages.

· £3bn was given in public subsidies to five of our train operating companies between 2007 and 2011. By contrast, the state-run East Coast Mainline will have returned £800m to the taxpayer by the end of the year.

· The amount spent on rolling stock has dropped drastically since privatisation and over 90% of new investment has been financed by Network Rail from taxpayer funding or government-underwritten borrowing.


For more information visit the Action For Rail website

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