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Minister shows contempt for rail passengers

29 August 2014

Passengers must be told where their cash is spent

Patrick McLoughlin was accused today of showing contempt for millions of rail passengers by excluding Network Rail from coverage of the Freedom of Information Act.
Despite the fact that the rail firm, which has a five year £38 billion public budget, joins the public sector on Monday, it will not be covered by FoI like every other public sector body.
TSSA leader Manuel Cortes, in a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, calls the decision "bizarre" and "inexplicable" in the light of its five year budget and its £30 billion debt mountain on the public books.
"If this decision is not reversed, we will be in a position where the rail regulator, ORR, will be subject to FoI but the public body it is regulating, NR, will not.
"Even Sir Humphrey may have drawn the line at such an absurd situation in the supposedly fictional world of "Yes Minister."
"Passengers pay the highest fares in Europe. They have a right to know where and how their billions are being spent."
Passengers and parliament have a right to ask detailed questions given the fact that NR was not only spending billions of taxpayers money on its own projects but was also due to play a key role in the £50 billion HS2 project.
The three rail unions, RMT, Aslef and TSSA will be staging a demo outside NR's London HQ on Monday welcoming its effective renationalisation while protesting about its exclusion from FoI.

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