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Minister "hides the truth" over rail franchises

24 April 2013

Rail minister Simon Burns was accused of leading passengers "up the garden path" over plans to sell off the East Coast franchise before the next election.

TSSA union leader Manuel Cortes attacked the minister after he told the Transport Select Committee that he was going to re-privatise the line because it was not as reliable as the privately run West Coast.

"What Mr Burns conveniently forgot to say is that he wants to sell off the publicly run East Coast line because it exposes the whole farce of the taxpayer funded private franchise system.

"East Coast has paid over £600 million to the Treasury over the past three years while Virgin has effectively paid not one penny in the past 15 years because it was handed a taxpayer subsidy of £1.4 billion in 2007.

"The taxpayer is paying Sir Richard Branson to run a railway line when he is classed as the 19th richest man in the UK with a personal fortune of over £3 billion.

"This is the economics of the madhouse. East Coast costs the taxpayer less but is being sold because of Tory ideology. They don't want passengers to know the truth about our massively expensive privately run system."

He pointed out that the West Coast line is more reliable because £9 billion on taxpayer money has been spent on

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