ASLEF: 25 years since privatisation

05 November 2018

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has spoken out on the 25th anniversary of the privatisation of Britain’s publicly-owned, and publicly-run, railway network.


Mick said: ‘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.” It was a foolish, ideologically-driven, policy by John Major’s government which has, each year for the last 25 years, sold Britain short.


‘Privatisation has, demonstrably, failed to deliver. Fares have soared, rolling stock got older, and our trains are more crowded.


‘Private companies talk about investment and risk. But there is no private investment – the money for investment comes from the taxpayer – and there is no risk because the companies hand back the keys when they can’t make the profits they want.


‘The truth is that the model is broken – that’s why the Labour Party policy of bringing the railways back into public ownership is so popular, even with Conservative voters. Even the train operating companies know the franchise system is a busted business model, which is why so few of them are now bidding for franchises. It’s time for Chris Grayling to wake up and smell the coffee.’

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