Latest Rail News

25.04.13

Franchise extensions ‘not value for money’ – MPs

MPs have criticised the number of franchise contract extensions to be granted by the Government, and called for the DfT to reveal the cost of renegotiating so many at once.

Following recommendations from the Brown review into franchising, the Government is spacing out competitions for the new franchises, requiring up to 12 major extensions to be agreed.

At a hearing yesterday (Wednesday), transport select committee chair Louise Ellman MP told rail minister Simon Burns: “One of the purposes of franchising was to have competition to improve value for money.

“Yet in the plans that have now been put forward, there are a large number of extensions of existing contracts and if they are all added together it comes to over 29 years. Why has the Government decided to do that...when surely that cannot seriously deliver value for money if you are basing value for money on a competitive system?”

The committee also criticised the decision to ‘reprivatise’ the East Coast Main Line by February 2015.

Burns responded: “DOR have done a good job in difficult circumstances but they have now reached a plateau. We haven’t seen the imaginative investment that we would hope and believe a private franchise holder would provide. We believe a plateau of franchising service is not good enough for the passenger.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Image c. IOSH

Comments

Ampox   27/04/2013 at 08:41

The franchise system doesn't work. Let's have management contracts instead.

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