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Shapps Rail Performance Admission 'A Cheek' - Cortes

29 October 2019

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes, has reacted with scorn to comments from Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, in which he admits there is a 'pressing need' to improve the performance of trains across the network.

Shapps was responding to a letter from Labour MP, Angela Rayner, in which she raises concerns about the lack of trains running on time. Rayner, whose constituency is in Greater Manchester, has in the past been critical of the Northern franchise for its poor performance.

In his response Shapps says he is seeking ‘to understand the scale of the problem’ with late running trains (he quotes only 64.7 per cent of trains ‘genuinely arrived on time’ last year).

Shapps says he has met ‘the heads of the rail industry’ and there is ‘now a joint determination to create a railway where the focus is on passengers’.

Commenting, Manuel Cortes, said: “What planet does Shapps live on? Imagine having the cheek to say, after more than two decades of failed privatisation, that he and the rail bosses now want to focus on passengers.

“Our railways must always be about passengers – first and last. Our railways must be safe, and they must provide a good service.

“He may not realise it but Shapps has admitted that the private model puts profit before passengers. Let me be clear – there is only one way to change that – by putting our railways back into public hands.

“Rail privatisation has been an abysmal failure from the word go and only railways owned by the British public and run in the public interest would fix the problems Shapps identifies at a stroke.

"Thankfully, we are heading towards a general election in which a victory for Jeremy Corbyn will mean an end to the Tories Frankenstein privatisation of our railways. If you want to end this rip off, where heads or tails greedy shareholders always win, vote Labour".

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