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Suspend ScotRail bidding due to impending rail devolution say MSPs & unions

1 October 2014

Labour's Shadow Transport Minister in the Scottish Parliament has joined with over a dozen other MSPs and MPs to release a joint statement with rail unions calling for the suspension of the UK-government's franchising process for ScotRail.


It has been accepted that the new devolution settlement will include powers over rail, so that, as Gordon Brown said, "enforced rail privatisation will be no more".

With those powers due to be handed over to Holyrood it is totally undemocratic for the Westminster government to tie the hands of both current and future Scottish governments with long-term franchises for both ScotRail and the Caledonian Sleeper service.

It is very welcome that the evidence which shows that public ownership of our railways is best for passengers, taxpayers and rail workers is being accepted by Scottish Labour's shadow ministers. We strongly urge their Westminster equivalents to catch up with the lead that MSPs have set.


Statement on Scotland’s powers over rail passenger services

We welcome that as part of the new devolution settlement for the Scottish people there are commitments to devolved responsibility on rail so the Scottish Government can decide whether it wishes to run Scotrail services in the public sector. In the words of Gordon Brown contained in his post referendum speech “enforced rail privatisation will be no more”.

We are concerned however that under the current tendering process the winning bidder for the Scotrail franchise is to be notified in October 2014 and the franchise, to start in April 2015, will be ten years in length. This will mean Scotland’s rail passenger services will be privatised for the next decade and will make the promises on rail powers meaningless.

We further note that legally the Scottish Government can vary, suspend or terminate the Scotrail tendering process at any time up to the notification of the successful bidder. We therefore urge the Scottish Government to withhold notifying a successful bidder and instead allow the franchise to continue until later in 2015 when the new Scottish Act will be implemented and the Scottish Government will have the power to power to run Scotrail services in the public sector.

We also urge the Scottish Government to use these new developments to review the decision to notify the winning bidder for the Caledonian Sleeper franchise, which is also due to start in April 2015.

Mick Cash RMT General Secretary
Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary
Mick Whelan, ASLEF General Secretary
James Kelly MSP (Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Capital Investment and Infrastructure)
Mark Griffin MSP (Labour Shadow Minister for Transport and Veterans)
Katy Clark MP
Richard Baker MSP
Jayne Baxter MSP
Claudia Beamish MSP
Michael Connarty MP
Ian Davidson MP
Brian Donohoe MP
Neil Findlay MSP
Sheila Gilmore MP
Hugh Henry MSP
James Kelly MSP
Jim McGovern MP
Ian McKenzie MP
Michael McCann Mp
Graeme Morrice MP
Sandra Osborne MP
Elaine Smith MSP

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