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22/01/2018 - Government bails out privateers

bringbackbrSolidarity, alongside other Unions, has condemned the government’s bailout of rail privateer Virgin-Stagecoach after it abandoned its East Coast franchise.

The franchise will end three years early, leaving the taxpayer to pick up an estimated £2 billion bill.

The RMT rail union branded the government’s intervention the “big Branson bailout” in a swipe at Virgin founder and notorious tax-dodger Sir Richard Branson.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash declared:

“The £2bn East Coast bailout is just another scandal embroiling this rotten government and adds to the growing charge sheet of waste and incompetence,” he said.

“There is no way the taxpayer should be picking up the tab for this latest East Coast scandal. The line should be taken back into public ownership.”

The East Coast Main Line runs from London to Edinburgh.

Virgin-Stagecoach, which won the franchise when it was reprivatised in 2015, is the third privateer to fail while operating the service.

Previous operators GNER and National Express also finished the franchise early after failing to make profits.

The only operator to make a success of the service was publicly owned Directly Operated Railways (DOR), which ran the service from 2009 to 2015, after National Express’s failure.

DOR returned a profit of more than £1bn to the Treasury while operating the service — then the Tory government privatised it again!

RMT is leading a campaign for all British rail services to be nationalised. Solidarity has long backed that call.