Network Rail considering privatisation

Tuesday 22nd September 2015

In this brave new (and possibly very brief) world of politics, where there is actually a difference of opinion between the two major parties, the ownership of the railways is back on the agenda.

The new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wants to see the railways owned by the public again, whereas the Conservatives are, of course, ideologically opposed to this.

In the meantime, Network Rail, which was re-classified as a public sector body a year ago, could be heading towards privatisation. The Chief Executive of the HS1 rail line, Nicola Shaw, has been brought in to report on Network Rail’s structure and financing. In an interview with the BBC Miss Shaw said that a partial or total sell-off “was absolutely on the table; it can’t not be.”

Miss Shaw will spend the coming months speaking to unions and staff representatives before revealing her findings next spring in time for the budget.

A proposal to privatise Network Rail will be welcomed by the Conservative government which is seeking to cut public spending and find a way to remove Network Rail’s £37.7 billion debt from its books, but it will anger the unions and could lead to industrial action.

Click here for a full copy of the BBC News article.