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Labour promises to end rail misery in region, as City MP sets out reforms to fix Britain’s railways and put passengers first

By 25 April 2024May 29th, 2024No Comments
Photo © of Stephen Morgan MP

Labour’s plans to get Britain moving are crucial to delivering our missions for Government by boosting productivity and driving growth. A growing economy and public services fit for the future need a modern transport system to support the flow of people and goods across the country.

Under the Conservatives Britain’s broken rail network is simply not delivering: cancellations have soared to record high levels, fares have risen almost twice as fast as wages since 2010, and strikes are costing taxpayers £25m for every day they go ahead, whilst taxpayers fork out huge subsidies to pay for trains that are overcrowded, delayed or cancelled.

Labour will fold existing private passenger rail contracts into Great British Railways as they expire, without the taxpayer paying a penny in compensation costs, as part of a publicly owned and passenger focused railway.

Labour’s plans will bring an end to railway chaos facing Portsmouth people on a weekly basis, with passengers using South Western railways experiencing an 85% increase in cancellations since 2016, with just 57.8% of trains turning up on time.

This compares to a shocking 61% increase in cancellations across Britain since 2016, with only 62% of services on time in October-December last year.

Commenting, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Labour will deliver the biggest overhaul to our railways in a generation. Whilst the Conservatives are content to let Britain’s broken railways fail passengers, Labour will deliver root and branch reform.

“After years of dysfunction and waste our broken railways are unfit to meet the needs of modern Britain. Passengers and taxpayers alike are being failed, and our economy is being held back. Doing nothing is simply not an option.”

“With Labour’s bold reforms, a publicly owned railway will be single-mindedly focused on delivering for passengers and will be held to account on delivering reliable, safe, efficient, accessible, affordable and quality services, with every passenger in Portsmouth and across the country feeling the benefits.”

A Labour Government would:

  • Put the passenger first, by delivering a best-price ticket guarantee for passengers, and rolling out automatic delay repay and digital season tickets across the network
  • Establish a powerful new passenger watchdog, the Passenger Standards Authority, to hold Great British Railways to account for passengers
  • Deliver significant savings to the taxpayer by eliminating fragmentation, waste, bureaucracy and by stopping profits leaking out to private operators
  • Create a unified, publicly owned, accountable and arm’s length Great British Railways, which will be led by rail experts, not Whitehall
  • Expect to complete the transition to public ownership within the first term of a Labour Government, by folding existing private passenger rail contracts into the new body as they expire, without the taxpayer paying a penny in compensation costs
  • Give devolved leaders, including Mayoral Combined Authorities, a statutory role in the rail network, allowing decisions about the railways to be taken closer to the communities they serve
  • Support successful open access and freight operators to continue to deliver, and set clear objectives and targets for passenger services and freight growth

Labour’s plans mean delivering a unified, publicly owned rail within the first term of a Labour Government, as franchises are brought in house as contracts expire, meaning taxpayers won’t pay a penny in compensation costs.