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TSSA welcome Shaw regarding Network Rail to be "a public good"

12 November 2015

The Department of Transport has today published The Shaw Scoping Report, an interim report into the future funding of Network Rail.

Responding, TSSA transport union leader Manuel Cortes welcomes the case she makes for public ownership of Network Rail.

"I am glad to read Nicola describe Network Rail, indeed our whole railway system, as a ‘public good’ and 'a social service'.

"And she sees the ‘social benefits’ – in that future projects will continue to require government funding.

"She highlights that the 2014 reclassification of Network Rail as a public sector body has seen it go from an output driven to a financially driven organisation. This has put significant pressure on Network Rail’s ability to borrow money, which now directly, and in my opinion unnecessarily, affect governments fiscal objectives.

"She admits too that she is under political pressure whilst she is undertaking the scoping exercise - perhaps that is why she opens the door to the possibility of privatisation in this report.

"Her consultation is ongoing and I will be meeting Nicola at some stage in the near future to explain why our union believes privatisation does not make for safer or more punctual railways.

"Unfortunately, she's been commissioned by market fundamentalist Tories who want privatisation irrespective of whether the facts stack up. Thankfully, Nicola already seems to be rejecting market solutions as the right way to safeguard the future of our railways and Network Rail."

Action For Rail, the alliance of rail unions and the TUC, are meeting today to consider their response and will report tomorrow.

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