York MP Calls For Debate on East Coast Main Line
7:12am 25th June 2013
Local MPs are fighting to keep the East Coast Main Line in the public hands. Our region's Labour MPs are hoping to secure a debate on the East Coast mainline before they break for the summer. That's despite the government insisting that privatisation will still go ahead in 2015. Labour are planning a long campaign to keep the line in public control making it a key election issue.
Hugh Bayley MP joined campaigners at York Railway Station on Friday to hand out leaflets which call for the publicly owned company, East Coast, to retain the franchise for the east coast main line. Hugh Bayley has been calling for the government to allow services on York’s East Coast main line to continue to be provided by East Coast to test out whether public or private train operators provide better value for money and better services for the public.
Hugh Bayley says that the government has agreed to re-franchise the West Coast line from London to Manchester and Glasgow and he wants the government to allow services on York’s East Coast main line to continue to be provided by the public sector company, East Coast, for the same period as a private franchise, say 10-15 years, to test out whether public or private train operators provide better value for money and better services for the public
Hugh Bayley says he also pressed the government to keep the Headquarters of the east coast train operator in York. He pointed out that the Labour Transport Minister Sadiq Khan, promised the Headquarters would stay in York the last time the train operator changed, but the Conservative Minister, Simon Burns, refused to give this commitment. The headquarters currently provide 200 jobs, but they act as an anchor for thousands of other jobs in York with railway engineering companies, suppliers and Network Rail.
The MP also called on the government to consult to see whether they want East Coast to be replaced by a private contractor.
Hugh Bayley said: “I will keep pressing for the Headquarters jobs to stay in York. It would be disastrous for the local economy if they were to move, and there is no reason for the government to create uncertainty. They could simply agree to keep them in York, like Labour did last time the train operating company changed.
"East Coast is a great publicly owned company which have done well. They have paid £640 million to the government over the three and bit years they have run the service. That’s more per year than their two private sector predecessors, and the Passenger Focus surveys now give the service a higher rating than ever before, under public or private ownership.
“The Government needs to consult rail passengers about the future of the service. They are the people who use it.”
|Get the latest local news direct to your inbox.
Sign up now for our email updates.