Clash over Rail Nationalisation

June 22, 2018 4:51 PM
By Alix Roper

ryanbateThe Liberal Democrats and Labour on Warrington Council have different views on whether full-scale nationalisation of our railways is the solution to the current problems.

There was total agreement on the appalling response from Northern Rail to the current fiasco rail users in Warrington are suffering and the need to hold the Minister and the company to account.

Cllr Ryan Bate said, "The disruption caused by the timetable changes comes with great economic and social cost causing untold anger and anguish as people struggle to get to work, to school, to medical appointments and go about their daily lives. If Labour would remove their call for public ownership from their motion we would support it so there would be cross-party consensus. This would give greater weight to our MPs as they seek the best solution for our Borough.

How and when they want to achieve full-on nationalisation is unclear and there are many options for a middle way between nationalisation and privatisation such as some form of public / private partnership or what is called stakeholder capitalism. I am sorry that they have rejected the opportunity for consensus."

Cllr Ian Marks added, "We think Labour's faith in the benefits of nationalisation is misguided. It would cost a huge amount of money and remember it was nationalised British Rail that wielded the Beeching cuts and under-invested in the 60s and 70s. It is wrong that UK passengers are paying money from fares to overseas state-owned companies who own most of our rail operators. It is a nonsense that they are allowed to bid for franchises when public sector companies here cannot.

We would reform the franchising system by banning companies that substantially breach the terms of their contract from bidding for further franchises for a period of time. Liberal Democrats would give local authorities, city regions and 'Transport for the North' a greater role in operating franchises in their areas."

Lib Dem Group leader Cllr Bob Barr commented, "We were very surprised that the Conservative councillor supported Labour and voted for nationalisation. Does this indicate a change of policy for her Party?"