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Sturgeon attacks ‘absurd’ ban on Scottish public sector operating rail

Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), has pledged that the SNP will allow Scottish public sector bodies to bid to run Scotland’s railways if they are re-elected in next month’s elections.

In a speech to the Scottish Trade Union Congress conference, Sturgeon called it “an absurd position” that public sector bodies from other countries can run Scottish railways but Scottish public sector bodies cannot.

She said the SNP’s manifesto will include a pledge to use their newly devolved powers under the Smith Commission to change this, and hinted that the SNP would prefer full nationalisation to a tendering process.

Sturgeon said: “We will continue to have to tender services - it will not be within our gift to change that. But our manifesto will make clear that a re-elected SNP government will use new powers to change the law to ensure that in future a Scottish public sector body will be able to bid to run Scotland’s railways.”

Trade unions frequently take a stance against the takeover of rail franchises by foreign public sector bodies. For example, RMT and TSSA protested at the granting of the Northern rail franchise to Arriva, which is owned by German state railway company Deutsche Bahn.

The Scottish government recently granted extra funding to ScotRail to allow them to introduce 200 additional services from 2018.

(Image c. Dominic Lipinski from PA Wire and Press Association Images)


Manchester Mike   20/04/2016 at 14:17

Bizarre logic indeed. Doesn't look good.

Duncan Jack   20/04/2016 at 22:37

Yes, allowing other European countries to operate rail franchises in this country could be seen as progressive, in fact it proves in substance what good Europeans we are. Are they as good Europeans as we are?

Mully   21/04/2016 at 04:54

And for some more Politics..Confused .com on this one. Stagecoach and First are both Scottish firms in Perth and Aberdeen respectively but are banned to go for any Franchise? Awe wait a mo, they can as long as they can bid as a consortium company 90% owned but with another company like Virgin who can plaster and advertise as them. Gotcha!

Ar.Parask   21/04/2016 at 08:57

@Mully; Well you seem to be a bit confused indeed. Both stagecoach and first are allowed to bid for any franchise they want. In fact, first, bid on their own for the Scotrail franchise but they lost to abellio. They also bid on their own for the transpanine franchise which they won. Partnerships between companies is a way of diversifying risks, taking advantage of brand names etc. In fact stagecoach actually pays for the use of the Virgin name rather than virgin advertising themselves...

Matthew   21/04/2016 at 11:36

In Germany contracts have been awarded to Abellio (Netherlands), Keolis (France), FS (Italy), National Express (UK) and Go-Ahead (UK) to run local train services and we don't hear many stories of national outrage from there (although that might be because they're written in German). May the best provider for the job do it I say, be it public or privately owned.

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