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Keep East Coast public: taking the message to Parliament

1 November 2013

The campaign to Keep East Coast Public continued apace throughout October, with TSSA at the heart of ramping up the pressure on the government not to re-franchise the successful route.

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Thanks to the great efforts of members and supporters, TSSA, together with our fellow rail unions in Action for Rail, the anti-privatisation campaign We Own It, 38 Degrees and others, delivered a 25,000 strong petition to the Department for Transport in late October.

Manuel Cortes joined Labour’s shadow rail minister Lilian Greenwood, and Green MP Caroline Lucas and others to present the petition to the government on behalf of its signatories. The hand-in and the follow-up media coverage help build our campaign to make public opposition to the government’s East Coast plan impossible to ignore.

Peterborough public meeting says ‘keep East Coast where it belongs!’

Mary Creagh, Labour’s newly-appointed shadow transport secretary, made Peterborough one of her first ports of call in her new role. Just eight days after being given the role by Ed Miliband, she addressed a public meeting organised by TSSA and supported by the local Labour Party and others. Mary spoke of her ongoing commitment to the campaign to keep East Coast public, and pointed out the considerable benefits to the taxpayer that East Coast has delivered since it was brought ‘in-house’ in 2009. “For us, it’s a no-brainer. East Coast is working well as part of Directly Operated Rail, and is delivering for the taxpayer and the passenger. There is no case for privatising it.”

Speaking alongside Mary were Lisa Forbes, Labour’s candidate for Peterborough as well as TSSA’s assistant general secretary John Page. The evening brought together TSSA members, commuters, trade unionists and representatives of the local pensioners’ group to discuss how to make an effective contribution to the campaign. Ideas were also fed-in as to how public transport in Peterborough could be improved more generally. Coming out of the evening, a number of local actions hiave been agreed.

More public meetings, planning sessions, media stunts and training events are taking place along the East Coast line in coming months. To find out how you can be involved, visit www.tssa.org.uk/eastcoast.

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Three reasons why East Coast should stay in public hands

1. Profits to the taxpayer
Since 2009, East Coast has returned more than £850 million to the taxpayer, more than any other franchise. This money can be directly reinvested into improving the service. If controlled by a private company, these profits would have gone into shareholders’ pockets.

2. The privatised service would be worse
Contrary to government smears, East Coast more than holds its own against other franchises on punctuality and reliability. Leaked bid documents have highlighted the threat that under a new private operator, East Coast would introduce a ‘third class’ ticket to make more money out of already hard-up passengers.

3. The public opposes any sell-off
Recent research indicates that just one in five Britons wants to see East Coast given away to a private company. Among Conservative voters, 48 per cent oppose privatisation of the route and only 28 per cent support it.
 

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