Red British railway logo on orange brick wall

Major nationalisation pledge

With local elections looming, and a general election on the horizon, the Labour Party has set out its plans for a major transport shake up by bringing the railway back under public ownership.

In a speech today, Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh has pledged to renationalise the rail network within the first five years – should Labour be elected into government in the next election. This will bring the creation of the long-awaited Great British Railways, with a focus on delivering better value for passengers and securing the future of the network.

Nationalisation quote PSE

Commenting on the plans, Haigh said:

“After years of dysfunction and waste, our broken railways are unfit to meet the needs of modern Britain. Passengers and taxpayers alike are being failed, and our economy is being held back. Doing nothing is simply not an option.

“With Labour’s bold reforms, a publicly-owned railway will be single-mindedly focused on delivering for passengers and will be held to account on delivering reliable, safe, efficient, accessible, affordable and quality services.

“Labour’s detailed plans will get our railways back on track; driving up standards for passengers, bringing down costs for taxpayers, driving growth and getting Britain moving.”

As part of the measures to benefit people around the country, the Labour Party plans to introduce automatic delay and cancellation refunds, further integration of timetables and ticketing, delivering the best prices, and a new passenger watchdog – the Passenger Standards Authority - that would make Great British Railways accountable.

The pledge has drawn a mixture of criticism and support from across the public and private sectors, with Conversative MP Simon Clarke responding through his account:

“There are lots of problems with our railway, but asking the state to run it is likely to make them worse.”

This news follows the announcement that the government is open to discussions around new transport improvements between Liverpool and Manchester, plans for which were put forward by Mayors Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham. These improvements would level up the connections between two of the North’s most important cities, and now that the Transport Minister Huw Merriman has shown a willingness to discuss plans, further progress is expected after the upcoming local elections – should Burnham and Rotheram be re-elected.

The Transport Minister’s letter to Mayor Rotheram, and Leader of Liverpool City Council Cllr Liam Robinson, outlined a willingness to support new projects, saying:

“I am committed to continuing to work with yourselves and other local leaders toward identifying the best solutions for this corridor.

“I can confirm that we are willing to look at alternatives to using the West Coast Main Line into Liverpool and station options as part of the next phase of work once the high-level strategy for this corridor is confirmed.”


Image credit: iStock


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