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Labour could re-nationalise the railways, says Ed Miliband


Labour could re-nationalise the railways, says Ed Miliband

ED MILIBAND is considering the biggest state intervention for decades as he indicated yesterday that Labour could re-nationalise Britain’s railways if it wins power.


Labour, Ed Miliband, nationalisation, railway, public transport, public ownershipEd Miliband is strongly considering putting railway lines back in public ownership[GETTY]

The Labour leader said that he is “looking at all the options” and suggested that his party could take a number of railway lines back into public ownership.

Mr Miliband was forced to deny that his plans amounted to “old fashioned socialism”, as it emerged that Labour is also considering a major crackdown on drinking, smoking and ­eating junk food.

Labour has already pledged to intervene in the energy market and last week said that landlords would face caps on rent increases.

Lord Prescott has led Labour calls to re-nationalise Britain's railways [GETTY]

Passengers are paying high fares and we are paying big subsidies from the taxpayer

Ed Miliband

Mr Miliband insisted that Labour would not return to the old days of British Rail but said the current system was flawed.

He told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “We are looking at all the options on the railways. Passengers are paying high fares ... and we are paying big subsidies from the taxpayer.”

His comments came after ­ex-deputy prime minister Lord Prescott and over 30 aspiring MPs asked Mr Miliband to re-nationalise the railways.

Mr Miliband added: “There is a balance to be struck here because there are some benefits you can have sometimes from competition and we are not going back to the old monolithic model that was British Rail.

“But we do need to look at how we can have a coherent system.”

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Asked if he was preaching “old-fashioned socialism”, Mr Miliband said: “Old-fashioned socialism was somehow about wholesale nationalisation of the commanding heights of our economy. That is not what I am about. What I’m about is how do we make markets work properly in the public interest, and there is a divide in British politics.

“There are the defenders of broken markets, the people in hock to the vested interests, unable to take on the energy companies and change things, unable to reform the banks, and there’s Labour that is leading the way with a bold agenda that says we are going to tackle the cost of living crisis in this country, we are going to change this country so it doesn’t just work for a few at the top.”

But Conservative MP Bob Neill said the Labour leader wanted to drag Britain back to the 1970s.

“Labour’s economic credibility is going even further off the rails,” he warned. “Once again Ed Miliband has shown he is too weak to stand up for the people of Britain and face down his union paymasters.”

Meanwhile, Labour insisted that a leaked paper setting out plans for tough restrictions on alcohol sales and advertising, unhealthy food and tobacco is not official policy.

The plan would end sports sponsorship by drinks firms and impose minimum alcohol pricing.

There would also be laws to curb the amount of sugar, fat and salt in food aimed at children and a ban on adverts for unhealthy products on TV before the 9pm watershed.

A spokesman for Labour said: “This paper represents a wide range of options, not Labour Party policy.”

Tory chairman Grant Shapps said: “It’s becoming clearer every day that Ed Miliband just offers more of the same old Labour – and no economic plan to secure Britain’s future.”

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