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TSSA response to the Shaw report

16 March 2016

Responding to the publication of the Shaw report today (Wednesday 16 March), TSSA leader Manuel Cortes made the following comments

"Shaw may have stopped George Osborne's plans to sell off our rail tracks. This a victory common sense, passengers and the rail unions who have campaigned hard to ensure that safety is not compromised. However, she has done nothing to stop his plans to flog off station concourses, land or even it's strategic electric grid.

"We're talking of some of our country's prime real estate which I've got no objection to being put to good social and commercial use. Network Rail already collects significant amounts of rent from letting retail space at stations which is reinvested in the UK's rail industry. Yet, selling our stations to foreign investment funds will allow them to ship abroad lucrative profits made at our expense.

"We welcome Shaw's recognition that railways are a public good but they also need long-term strategic planning and only public investment can achieve this. Selling stations is short-sighted as we are foregoing long-term future retail rental income for a quick buck. Selling-off Network Rail's electric grid means we keep a railway without having control over it's strategic power network. You wouldn't run a child's train set like that.

"Government needs to keep investing our railways as we are still catching up after decades of underinvestment. Osborne should take the advice of Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, who's right to say there's never been a better time for Britain to borrow money to invest in building infrastructure fit for the 21st century.

" Interest rates are so low that our Government could more than afford to make our railway the envy of the world. Sadly, it's incredibly disappointing that this report signposts the flogging-off of publicly owned rail infrastructure and the continued asset stripping of our country. The Tories know the price of everything and the value of nothing!"

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