ASLEF: The Shadow White Paper on Rail

01 April 2020

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers' union, has warmly welcomed the plan for Britain's railways published by Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald today.


Mick said: 'This is the white paper that Labour would have brought before Parliament if the party had won the general election in December. And what an imaginative, exciting, and forward-looking set of proposals it is!


'The Tories have already admitted that the franchise system has failed and the Williams report – which was finished in November but has been put on the back burner by the government until June – will propose another way of running Britain's railways


'Because it's not just the Tories who, belatedly, recognise that privatisation has failed. Passengers are up in arms about sky high fares, overcrowded services, and ever-older rolling stock. Businesses know the current system doesn't deliver. And the train operating companies themselves have stopped bidding for franchises.


'The current model – this failed model – has fallen at the first hurdle during the current crisis and that's why the government has been forced to change the system.


'But we believe the system should be changed not for six months, but for ever. Because we need to bring Britain's railways into the 21st century and do what other successful countries – such as Germany – do. In Germany they understand that the railway is a public service that should be publicly-owned, and publicly-run, in the public sector. Not a vehicle for a few people to make a private profit at the expense of the rest of us.


'This crisis has underlined the fact that we need to bring the wheels and the steel back together in a vertically-integrated national network run for the benefit of passengers, taxpayers, businesses, and staff. That, as Andy says, is the best way forward for Britain.'


Clear here to download GB Rail: Labour's Plan for a Nationally Integrated Publicly Owned Railway (pdf)



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