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TSSA brand SNP "Santa's Nederlands Party" after Abellio's Scotrail Bailout

15 November 2018

TSSA have blasted the SNP government for giving a £23million handout from the taxpayer to Abellio to prop up their failing ScotRail franchise

Under pressure from MSPs at a Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee yesterday (Wednesday) Alex Hynes, ScotRail MD, admitted that ScotRail had received £23million of taxpayers money months earlier than it was due to compensate for their failure to manage their budget properly.

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, said, “Robbing Peter to pay Paul is no way to run a railway. Abellio have a budget and if they cannot keep that budget then they should be returning to their Dutch shareholders, who were quick enough to take the profits when ScotRail made them, to ask for a bailout. Better yet, if they can’t run the franchise on budget they should hand back the keys to the Scottish Government.

“If the SNP had any respect for the Scottish taxpayer they would be working night and day to bring ScotRail back into public ownership at the earliest possible opportunity. Instead Abellio have been bailed out by the taxpayers.

“By taking money from next year’s budget Abellio are simply cooking up bigger problems for themselves now. In April 2019 they can expect to be starting the new financial year with a £23million budget shortfall which they’ll have to make up. No doubt they’ll either be looking to their long-suffering customers to make up the difference with bigger fare hikes, or for another bailout from the taxpayer.

“Even arch-privateers Stagecoach and Virgin were more upfront with the British government than Abellio have been. They simply handed back the keys when they stopped making enough money. Abellio though are looking at the Scottish government as the gift that keeps on giving. With a guaranteed 12 months free of franchise targets, an extra bailout from the taxpayer, and yesterday the SNP lining up with the Tories to vote not to use the break clause in Abellio’s contract, Christmas has come early for the Dutch rail company. Abellio must think that SNP stands for “Santa’s Nederlands Party.”

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