Branson attacks ‘preposterous’ decision on rail-line franchise
VIRGIN Rail boss Sir Richard Branson has attacked the UK government’s plans to hand a multi-billion-pound contract to rival bidder FirstGroup as “absolutely preposterous”.
Sir Richard defended his legal challenge to the decision and told MPs yesterday that the government’s plans would cost the taxpayer billions of pounds.
He said the FirstGroup’s pledge to pay £2 billion in the last three years of the 13-year franchise was “ridiculous”, saying the government should have kicked out the bid for not being properly costed.
His intervention came during an inquiry by the Commons transport committee into the West Coast Main Line contract, held after the government’s plans to sign a £13.3bn deal were delayed by Virgin’s legal challenge.
However, Tim O’Toole, chief executive of FirstGroup, said the bid was “deliverable” and would lead to more investment in the line.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West