Fabian Hamilton MP calls for East Coast Rail to be brought back into public ownership
“In light of the announcement that Virgin Trains East Coast’s contract is being terminated 3 years early, Labour is calling for it to be brought back into public ownership after it was privatised in 2015. As I argued in late 2014 and early 2015, the Government must move to implement Labour’s planned renationalisation of the East Coast Main Line as it will drive down rail fares and improve the commuting abilities of working people. When in public hands, the state owned East Coast rail returned over £200 million a year in profits, which was then reinvested into our vital public services.
My colleague, the Shadow Transport Secretary, Andy McDonald is absolutely right to say that the ‘strategy announcement’ by the Transport Secretary yesterday was “a total smokescreen”. The taxpayer will now have to bail out Virgin Trains and Stagecoach as the Government fails to put forward a passenger-first alternative. It is firmly in the interests of public safety and the economy to make rail transport reliable and affordable, which is why Labour is urging the Government to rethink its obsession with keeping the East Coast Main Line out of public ownership.”