Labour backs plans to return railway network to public control

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Squaddie

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From The Guardian
Plans to bring the national rail network back under public ownership in order to halt big fare increases and prevent private companies siphoning off huge profits will be considered by Labour as part of its policy review...

If adopted it would mean ending franchises as they come up for renewal on the east coast, west coast and midland mainlines – ousting the likes of Sir Richard Branson from one of the country's most profitable routes – and bringing the running of trains and infrastructure under one publicly owned and accountable company...

The authors estimate that £1.2bn of public money has been lost each year as a direct result of privatisation and fragmentation, money that could have allowed fares to be 18% lower than at present.
 
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ainsworth74

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Interesting. I wonder how much support this has in the rest of the Shadow Cabinet or if whether Maria Eagle is something of a lone voice?
 

WatcherZero

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Guardian/Observer is doing a bit of bad journalism here.

Plans to bring the national rail network back under public ownership in order to halt big fare increases and prevent private companies siphoning off huge profits will be considered by Labour as part of its policy review...

If adopted it would mean ending franchises as they come up for renewal on the east coast, west coast and midland mainlines – ousting the likes of Sir Richard Branson from one of the country's most profitable routes – and bringing the running of trains and infrastructure under one publicly owned and accountable company...

The authors estimate that £1.2bn of public money has been lost each year as a direct result of privatisation and fragmentation, money that could have allowed fares to be 18% lower than at present.
The plan itself also doesnt take account of European rail competion laws. If anything what Labours currently considering (making the franchises not-for profit like Network Rail) may be a better solution
 

anthony263

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I remember reading Labour saying something similar before the 1997 election and look we still have a privatised Rail network so I am taking this with a pinch of salt so to speak.
 

Zoe

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The plan itself also doesnt take account of European rail competion laws.
If a franchise is let then it would have to go to tender throughout the EU but is there a directive mandating that rail services be franchised?
 
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WatcherZero

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If a franchise is let then it would have to go to tender throughout the EU but is there a directive mandating that rail services be franchised?
No, im refering to the part of the plan that reintegrates Network Rail and the Franchises under a single financial/management body, no seperation of infrastructure and services, no financial seperation.
 

Michael.Y

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History repeating itself? We have our big Five (DB, First, Govia, Virgin/Stagecoach, Abellio) now, so renationalisation can't be far away!
 

Zoe

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Labour were committed to a publicly owned, publicly accountable railway but by the time of the election privatization had largey been completed and Labour did not promise to renationlize in their 1997 manifesto.

1997 Labour Party Manifesto said:
The process of rail privatisation is now largely complete. It has made fortunes for a few, but has been a poor deal for the taxpayer. It has fragmented the network and now threatens services. Our task will be to improve the situation as we find it, not as we wish it to be.
 
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D365

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Good on Labour if they get the railways renationalised, but they'll have to hurry up, since a number of franchises are up for grabs soon. Creating an undercover company and take over every single franchise would be cool, but impossible <D

And stop the Tories before they privatise our hospitals, police and any other public assets. I wonder how much money has been wasted in total with any form of asset privatisation...
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
But allow open-access operators; BR Take 2 should be more like DB (Deutsche Bahn)
 

Schnellzug

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It would be very much in keeping with Labour's centralising and controlling instincts to do so, and given how easy it is to blame "Fat Cat Rail Chiefs" even though the shortcomings and complaints that people have are very largely because of hands-on Government control, it's very easy for a party in Opposition to try to glean some popularity by by blaming Fat Cats for everything.
To be quite honest, I think nationalisating them in the first place was just part of the postwar Labour government's dogma for nationalising everything in sight, just because they wanted to Control everything. in that respect, I don't think Labour has changed at all really.
 
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Zoe

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To be quite honest, I think nationalisating them in the first place was just part of the postwar Labour government's dogma for nationalising everything in sight, just because they wanted to Control everything. in that respect, I don't think Labour has changed at all really.
I'm not sure about that, even though they had a large majority in 1997 they did not go around reversing many Tory privatizations and Labour actually did some privatization themselves. Labour also had the opportunity to not relet the rail franchises when they reach the end of their term but didn't take it.
 

route:oxford

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Stop the Tories before they privatise our hospitals, police and any other public assets. I wonder how much money has been wasted in total with any form of asset privatisation...
Privatisation of health services is just scaremongering and the scaremongering will no doubt inhibit some good changes.

A friend of mine works for the NHS (previously working in industry) and cannot believe the internal processes.

Believe it or not, they still issue paper pay-slips to staff and distribute them by internal mail. Slips go missing, staff waste time hunting for them to check their overtime and HR *can't* re-print until they are sure it is missing. It must be around 12 years since I was last given a paper pay-slip.

Every January there is a race to spend any remaining budget on a use-it or lose-it basis. All this means is that massive panic-bulk orders are made, space has to be found to store the items - then much has to be dumped because of a short shelf life on medical items.

Then there are the printers and copiers...

All small things, but must cost a fortune across the nation.
 

Schnellzug

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I'm not sure about that, even though they had a large majority in 1997 they did not go around reversing many Tory privatizations and Labour actually did some privatization themselves. Labour also had the opportunity to not relet the rail franchises when they reach the end of their term but didn't take it.
Oh no, why go to the trouble of taking responsibility for something (which would come with owning it) when they could just regulate supposedly "private" industries to their heart's content, and satisfy their controlling impulses while being able to blame Fat Cats who were Only Interested in Profit for any shortcomings? It's the perfect solution.
 

Zoe

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Oh no, why go to the trouble of taking responsibility for something (which would come with owning it) when they could just regulate supposedly "private" industries to their heart's content, and satisfy their controlling impulses while being able to blame Fat Cats who were Only Interested in Profit for any shortcomings? It's the perfect solution.
I'm not sure that's the case though with a lot of the Tory privatizations. It has been suggested that the banks should have been regulated more. Labour also rejected calls for more regulation of the energy companies.
 

David10

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Labour said this at the same stage in the political cycle in the mid 90s. Yet when they came to office, decided it couldn't be done. So anyone who thinks things will be different should they return to office in 2015 is in for a nasty shock.
 

Aictos

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That one saying you must have an intrastructure provider and a train operator but not a joint one? (Tho the SWT deep alliance breaks this in sprit if not technically).
The one and same although I do believe UK PLC is not acting illegally against this EU directive if they simply have all infrastructure managed by a single company ie Network Rail and have all services managed by a single company ie British Rail as long as both are managed as separate companies I fail to see why this wouldn't be acceptable.

After all France's SNCF operates the country's national rail services which includes their high-speed rail network, passengers and freight services with maintenance and signalling of rail infrastructure owned by Réseau Ferré de France (RFF).

So in short if it's acceptable for France to interpret EU Directive 91/440 in this way, I fail to see how the UK will not be allowed to do the same especially if Directly Operated Railways takes over each franchise as it expires.

That being said with regards to Labour, I believe it when I see it!
 

radamfi

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The article mentions gross cost tendering along the lines followed in Germany as an option. In Germany the state decides the fares and service levels and the train companies just run the service. Is that hard to implement in the UK? London Overground do it already. I think that is really what is being considered.
 

2Dogbox

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They did absolutely nothing when they were in government so I don't take anything they say seriously. It's all talk. It is easy to say anything when you are im opposition, and not so easy to implement when in government. Not that I'm anti labour, I just think its the same of all sides in politics.
 

jon0844

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This is how I'd like to see our trains run here.

Do TOCs really make such huge profits that they're responsible for the high fares? I always assume the real cost is going to pay for Network Rail and then train leasing. How would Labour fix these costs to reduce fares? (I'd say they wouldn't without introducing some new stealth tax or something).
 

LE Greys

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I know we aren't exactly flavour of the month with the EU at the moment, but is it not possible to (finally) water down the directive to an extent that joint management is allowed, but open access must be permitted without discrimination? Anywhere with a nationalised operator should support that, especially Germany.
 

Simon11

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The percentage of profit that a toc makes In respect to ticket revenue is tiny! The margins are very tight!
Commercially, db bahn are very poor compared to uk tocs. They have whole deparments of staff whereas tocs may have one member of staff.
A big success of privatised tocs is advance fares. Db arent commercially minded to improve how they managed advance fares meaning that they don't look after capcity in the off peaks the same way we do here.
There are plenty of postivites about db railways, but there are also plenty of positivies of uk railways being better.
 

Schnellzug

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The percentage of profit that a toc makes In respect to ticket revenue is tiny! The margins are very tight!
Commercially, db bahn are very poor compared to uk tocs. They have whole deparments of staff whereas tocs may have one member of staff.
A big success of privatised tocs is advance fares. Db arent commercially minded to improve how they managed advance fares meaning that they don't look after capcity in the off peaks the same way we do here.
There are plenty of postivites about db railways, but there are also plenty of positivies of uk railways being better.
As i said, it's a classic political tactic, blame Fat Cat Rail Chiefs for {(c) Daily Mail} Sky High Fares and try to make it out that they're ruthlessly profiteering off the long suffering public. If they owned the rail system, however, and were responsible for setting fares and so on, who could they blame then for Sky High Fares? No one surely would imagine that fares would go down on a nationalised rail system under a Labout govt.
 

HSTEd

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No, im refering to the part of the plan that reintegrates Network Rail and the Franchises under a single financial/management body, no seperation of infrastructure and services, no financial seperation.
Actual separation is unnecessary if separate accounts are kept.

But I will believe this when I see it.
 
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