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East Coast rail privatisation questioned


from the BBC at http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/house-of-commons-22775265

East Coast rail privatisation questioned

4 June 2013 Last updated at 17:46 Help Shadow transport spokesman Lord Davies of Oldham questioned the government's decision not to extend the east coast's "successful" rail operation, and said the decision was "political dogma".

Lord Davies also queried government figures which said that the publicly operated East Coast Main Line returned less money to the Treasury than the privately operated west coast. He said the 2011-12 figures showed £156m was returned to the Treasury from Virgin on the west coast compared to £177m from the east coast.

The government wants the East Coast rail franchise - running from London King's Cross to Edinburgh - back in private hands by the February 2015.

Speaking for the government on 4 June 2013, Lord Attlee conceded that Lord Davies figures were "accurate" but warned peers to "remember that rail franchises are not directly comparable".

He went on to say: "It was never intended for the East Coast Main Line to remain in the public sector."

Crossbench peer Lord Palmer asked why there was a "desperate need and hurry to denationalise" the east coast service which "is operating remarkably successfully".

However, Lord Attlee said that "we need a longer-term investment plan for the future" and the government was "committed to benefiting from private sector innovation".

Subjects discussed also included Chancellor George Osborne's speech to the IMF in April; women's rights, and child abuse images.

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