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Halt rail franchises and save millions

4 November 2014

New rail franchises must be halted until after the General Election in six months time, TSSA said today.

With Labour commited to a review of the whole costly system - and bringing in a public sector challenger to the private firms - Ministers should not waste millions on awarding new contracts before May, warned TSSA leader Manuel Cortes.

Speaking before a protest rally outside the House of Commons against the awarding of the new Northern and TransPennine franchises, he called for a moratorium on any new deals.

The only public sector franchise, East Coast, is also due to be awarded to a private sector firm later this month.

"It will be a triumph for Tory dogma over common sense if East Coast is sold back to the private sector this month," he said.

"It has been the most successful value for money franchise in the past five years, returning more money to the Treasury, £1 billion, than any of the private firms.

"And now, out of political spite, the Tories want to flog it off to their chums in the City rather than await the outcome of the election and the verdict of the British people at the polls."

The success of the East Coast proved that privatising had been a costly mistake. In the past 20 years, fares have increased more than 200% on the most popular routes and the UK now has the highest fares in Europe.

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