Cut Climate Change Not Public Transport

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has said that only “massive state intervention” in Britain can decarbonise transport. 

Speaking at ‘Cut Climate Change not Public Transport’ a fringe meeting on day two of the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, Cortes also quashed the idea of private companies profiting under public ownership. 

The TSSA leader was joined by sister rail unions, We Own It, a public sector campaigning group, and Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, Jim McMahon, who confirmed he still backs public ownership of the railways and wider public transport, saying “I believe in it.” 

Cortes said: “You can't decarbonise without massive state intervention and if you have massive state intervention why would you allow anyone to make a profit? 

“Look at our railways - they went bankrupt within four or five weeks of the pandemic. They are only there now, private in name only, because we are paying for that - each and every one of us, through our taxes, are paying for those train services to run. 

“The cash cow that was the commuter - people ripped off right, left and centre - that model has come to an end and we are not going back to that. 

“But what we have not got now is an alternative economic settlement that allows our railways to function more like other railways do in other parts of the world, patricianly in Europe. They do not have the rip off fares that we have got.  

“We are not making it easy for people to go onto public transport, one of the things we need to do is to make it easier. 

"What we need is a new model for financing not just our railways, but our public transport as a whole.  What socialism is all about is having planning in your economy so that things do run on time, so that the bus meets the train and the train meets the ferry.” 

Cortes also said he had been “excited about the energy of young delegates around the Green New Deal” after seeing their commitment in lengthy procedural meetings at Conference. 

The comments came as delegates formally passed a policy motion calling on Labour to back a “socialist green new deal”. 

The motion was shaped and promoted by TSSA, with the Fire Brigades Union and campaign group Labour for a Green New Deal and passed on a show of hands. 

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