Labour calls on SNP to back public ownership of the railways

Scottish Labour has called on the SNP 'to follow Jeremy Corbyn's lead' and commit to bringing Scotland's railways back into public ownership.

Labour wants rail franchises, such as ScotRail, to return to public ownership when current contracts expire or are renegotiated.
Labour wants rail franchises, such as ScotRail, to return to public ownership when current contracts expire or are renegotiated.

The party’s UK manifesto pledges to bring railways “back into public ownership, as franchises expire or, in other cases, with franchise reviews or break clauses”.

Labour’s pledge extends to cross-border franchises such as the east and west coast mainlines which link Edinburgh and Glasgow with London.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The ScotRail franchise which covers nearly all domestic services is devolved to the Scottish Government.

Labour wants rail franchises, such as ScotRail, to return to public ownership when current contracts expire or are renegotiated.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “A Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn will transform Britain’s railways, bringing them back into public ownership.

“That will deliver a major benefit for Scottish passengers travelling to and from England. But there is a real risk that passengers travelling within Scotland will be left behind by the SNP.

“Public satisfaction with ScotRail is at a 14-year low and passengers are losing patience with Transport Minister Humza Yousaf’s failure to act. They are fed up with overcrowded, delayed and cancelled trains.

“The SNP refused Labour’s proposal for a fare freeze for all passengers this year; but the SNP must now follow our lead and commit to delivering a ScotRail service run for passengers, not profit.”

Labour wants rail franchises, such as ScotRail, to return to public ownership when current contracts expire or are renegotiated.

Holyrood transport minister Humza Yousaf tweeted that Labour’s call was “opportunistic” and added that work on a public sector bid for the ScotRail franchise was “well under way”.

Mr Yousaf previously said he wanted to work with unions and other political parties to put together a public sector bid to run ScotRail, which could be ready in time for 2020 when a clause in the contract with current operators Abellio would allow it to be broken.

ScotRail was forced to produce a performance improvement plan in September, at the request of Transport Scotland, after punctuality and reliability fell below standard.

Mr Yousaf said in November: “As I have made clear, our focus is firmly on driving up standards for passengers and ScotRail bosses have been left in no doubt about the need for improvements, and the seriousness of my intent.”

SNP Westminster transport spokesman Drew Hendry, said: “This is rich from the Labour party, given that they repeatedly blocked our efforts to do exactly this while they were in office.

“Once more, Labour is playing catch up and copying from SNP manifestos in putting forward their policy agenda.

“The SNP is committed to delivering the best rail service for Scotland – and we continue to make substantial improvements to our rail network that will benefit commuters and travellers for decades to come.”

Read More

Read More
Scottish Labour to vote on public ownership for railways