John Backs Keep East Coast Public’ Campaign

John has today given his backing for the campaign to keep the East Coast Main Line in Public Ownership.

The East Coast Mainline was brought back into public ownership in 2009 after National Express refused to carry out the obligations of the franchise and the UK Government’s Directly Operated Railways Limited, took over responsibilities. This was the second time a private franchise had failed in its responsibilities towards the East Coast Main Line, the earlier collapse of GNER in 2007 being the first.

Since being taken into public ownership the East Coast Main Line has taken in close to £600 Million of profit back to the taxpayer, not to shareholders. The 15 other rail franchises in the United Kingdom typically requires that the public subsidies 32% of ticket prices, the East Coast Main Line requires only 1.2%

Now following the successful maintenance of the East Coast Main Line by public ownership the UK Condem Government is seeking to sell it off before the 2015 election.

The RMT, the TSSA, ASLEF and others groups are mounting a day of action today (18th July 2013) to put pressure on the UK Government to keep the East Coast Main Line in public hands.

Commenting on the day of action John said:

“The disgraceful and ideologically driven decision by the UK ConDem Government to hand the East Coast Main Line back to private hands shows the UK Government’s dismissive and repugnant attitude towards the public sector.

“The East Coast Main Line remains the most successfully run franchise in the UK while in public hands; this move will result in the taxpayer paying more to subsidise tickets, hit passengers in the pockets and do little to improve the service.

“It beggars belief that the franchise which is bringing the most benefit to the public purse would be handed away to a private company which is beholden to shareholders not taxpayers.

“We should be moving towards renationalising our railways not throwing away a public sector success story.”