The announcement by the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlan that, due to mistakes in the Transport Department, the bids for the West Coast rail franchise have to be re-evaluated and the cost to the taxpayer will be £40 million is absolutely disgraceful and totally unacceptable.
Mr McLoughlan should be told in no uncertain terms that the Transport Department, and not the taxpayer, must carry the cost. He should be instructed to prepare new budgets by the end of this month showing how the £40m will be saved on strictly internal costs.
It would be unrealistic to expect this to be achieved during the remainder of the current financial year but must be during the life of the current parliament.
That is what, in the private sector, is called accountability and in the public sector does not appear to exist at all.
It WILL cost £40 million (some papers say £100m) to reimburse bidders for the West Coast franchise? What world do these firms live in? That’s equivalent to 1,000 people working for a whole year on a £40,000 salary.
Even spread across all the bidders, how can that be justified? It’s time the whole franchise farce was abandoned and the money spent on infrastructure and rolling stock instead of lining the pockets of lawyers and accountants.
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