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TSSA says no to rail privatisation lessons from right-wing think tank

10 February 2016

Statement by TSSA responding to the Institute of Economic Affairs' call for the privatisation of Network Rail

Responding to the Institute of Economic Affairs' call for the privatisation of Network Rail, TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes said:

"No one should be taking lessons in railway management from the Institute for Economic Affairs - it is the UK's oldest and leading neo-liberal think tank and should not be portrayed as an impartial voice when it has been the Tory Party's favourite privatisation think tank since the days of Margaret Thatcher.

"The IEA are free market ideologues who supported the disastrous break-up of British Rail which has resulted in UK passengers having the most overcrowded journeys with the most expensive fares in Europe.

"The IEA were also cheerleaders for the privatisation of our rail infrastructure which caused the devastating rail crashes at Hatfield and Potters Bar because privateers completely mismanaged vitally important maintenance work. They put profits before safety!

"It was a fine decision by the last Labour government to create publicly-owned Network Rail from the wreckage and callousness of Railtrack to ensure rail passenger safety was once again a national priority.

"And we now have the safest rail service in Europe. Public safety should not be put up for sale again. The sad rail tragedy in Bavaria should refocus our minds on providing the safest possible railway for passengers rather than look at ways of extracting profits from passengers and taxpayers to suit the whims of free-marketeers.

"Britain needs a publicly owned rail system with every penny in profit ploughed back into developing an integrated national rail network fit for the 21st century."

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