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TSSA Slams Government Over Rail Shareholders Covid Payouts  

17 September 2020

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has attacked the Government over the "national scandal" of rail franchise shareholders receiving millions in profits under the Coronavirus Emergency Measures Agreements (EMA's). 

The EMA’s - which are due to end on Sunday (20th September) - saw all franchises in England bailed out, removing the commercial risk for train operating companies, while continuing to guarantee management fees.  

Today Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, Jim McMahon, told MPs - “£100m has been paid out to shareholders, many of which are foreign governments”. He also criticised Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, for failing to update Parliament about plans for the railways once EMA arrangements expire.  

Responding to the exchange at Transport Questions, Manuel Cortes said: “Yet again this shambolic Government is failing the people of our country and putting profit before the national interest.  

“It’s a national scandal that £100m pounds of taxpayers money has been stuffed into the mouths of rail shareholders at a time when the state was required to step in to keep our railways running so that NHS and other key workers could get to their jobs and save lives.  

“Grant Shapps must account for this extraordinary figure which once again exposes the stark failure of privatised railways. Also, there must be no more dither and delay – it’s vital our railways are kept running as we continue to the fight against this deadly virus. Ministers must be clear about future plans now.  

“It’s time this Tory Government woke up to the fact that the era of privatisation is well and truly over. Our railways are not a plaything for profiteers but vital to the lives of millions day in, day out and must be placed fully in public hands.”  

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