RAIL UNION RMT today said that the true cost of the West Coast franchising fiasco will be at least £100 million, and possibly much more, and warned that the price of the systemic failure of the rail privatisation policy, which runs right to the very top of Government, will be paid for in cuts to essential rail investment and increased passenger fares.
The £100 million cost to the British people – the price of sheer Government and Departmental incompetence – is made up from a £40 million taxpayers’ bail-out to the failed West Coast bidders, nearly £9 million paid out in investigating what went wrong with the tendering process and with the rest coming from a loss of projected Government revenues from the short-term Virgin fit-up and the costs associated with suspending the rest of the franchising timetable. RMT is demanding release of those numbers which could take the full cost well beyond £100 million.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“The £100 million price-tag associated with the West Coast franchising fiasco will not be borne by the ministers responsible for this debacle, it will be carried yet again by the British people and will be paid for through cuts in investment and higher fares with the train operating companies protected and cushioned same as they have been since privatisation was first unleashed.
“RMT could have saved the Government the £9 million wasted on the reports into what went wrong on the West Coast franchise – it was yet another failure of the whole ill-conceived rail privatization racket and we could have told them that for nothing.
“The blame for this expensive fiasco lies with the political class and their cheerleaders in the private sector who have made a multi-billion pound killing out of the great rail rip-off. RMT will be stepping up the campaign for full renationalisation.”