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"More minnow than Minister" Matheson runs scared of making ScotRail public

14 November 2018

Following the failure of Scotland's Transport Minister, Michael Matheson to show up at Holyrood for the biggest debate on the future of ScotRail since the failing Abellio took it over in 2015, TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said,

"It's clear Michael Matheson doesn't get the meaning of even his own job title. It's in the job description of the Minister responsible for rail in Scotland to turn up to Holyrood transport debates. But Matheson's absence today shows once again that he is more minnow than minister.

"He ran scared today of the clamour to strip Abellio of the right he grants them on behalf of the Scottish public to run ScotRail. But he cannot hide from the rising tide of passenger wrath which will now flush him out of office sooner rather than later."

The absentee Matheson skipped the debate moved by Labour’s Colin Smyth, proposing the Scottish government use the break clause to end the ScotRail contract with Abellio in 2022.
Cortes, added “The SNP have revealed their true colours today, joining together with the Tories to vote down a motion that would bring an end to Abellio's franchise of ScotRail.

“It's no surprise that the Tories voted this motion down today. Privatisation is, after all, their Frankenstein experiment and they are determined to prop it up at all costs.

“But the SNP should be hanging their heads in shame. Not only because their Transport Minister, Matheson, was too cowardly to attend the debate. But because in voting with the Tories they have failed the people of Scotland.

“Abellio have delivered an increasingly poor service to ScotRail passengers. On their watch 70 services a day are cancelled and rail punctuality is the worst it’s been since privatisation. There is literally no case for keeping Abellio beyond pure ideology.

“Nationalisation of ScotRail at the earliest opportunity is in the best interests of Scotland. It would give us lower fares and better investment in trains.

"But instead of voting with the national interests the SNP have voted with the Tories to keep Abellio in place. Coupled with the 12 month waiver of its franchise targets which Coward Matheson gifted to ScotRail last month, Christmas has come early for Abellio. But it's going to be a winter of rail misery for ScotRail's customers.”


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