In a speech at the Labour Party Conference last weekend, shadow transport minister, Andy McDonald MP, made the case for public ownership of railways.
Addressing delegates in Liverpool, the shadow minister said the party wanted local communities to have control over their bus services. He also argued that “passengers, not profit” should be “at the heart of Britain’s railways”.
“Public transport has increasingly become detached from the concept of public service,” he said.
Mr McDonald gave the example of East Coast, which was placed in state ownership in 2009. The franchise was re-privatised by the former coalition government. While being run by the public company, East Coast has outperformed private predecessors, delivering £1bn to the Treasury.
“We are clear about this. We’ll put an end to Britain’s rip-off railways, so as private contracts expire, the routes will return to public ownership so profits can be re-invested to improve services and hold fares down,” argued the shadow minister.
He also referred to public ownership of bus services, the UK’s most used form of public transport.
“We want local communities to have control over their bus services. But we want to ensure that every area that wants to has power over running their bus services – not just mayoral combined authorities,” he said.
Bringing public transport into public ownership has been one of the key policies on the agenda of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
The Party is also exploring whether mutual models could be an alternative that would enable passengers and workers to own the service or gain representation. Speaking at the Co-operative Party’s conference in Cardiff on 10 July, shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said that the Labour Party was exploring different options, including mutual and co-operative models. “Whatever model coming out of this, it will be based on the principles of mutualisation,” he said.
The shadow chancellor highlighted that the Labour Party had worked closely with the Co-operative Party on developing amendments to the Bus Services Bill, currently in a report stage in the House of Lords.
In this article
- British people
- bus services
- Democratic socialists
- House of Lords
- Jeremy Corbyn
- John McDonnell
- Labour Party
- Politics of the United Kingdom
- shadow chancellor
- shadow minister
- Shadow transport minister
- the Labour Party
- United Kingdom
- United Kingdom