Scottish Greens are today (28 Feb) launching a petition calling for all railway companies and rolling stock to be taken back into public hands as East Coast is handed over to private firms Virgin and Stagecoach.
Peter McColl, the Scottish Green Party candidate in the target constituency of Edinburgh East, points out that since rail privatisation in the 1990s fares have risen sharply, taking them well above the European averages.
East Coast, before George Osborne handed it to Virgin/Stagecoach, returned a surplus of over £200m to the public purse.
Scottish Greens are backing Green MP Caroline Lucas who has introduced a bill at Westminster to renationalise the railways. A petition has been launched at scottishgreens.org.uk/public-rail.
Public polling shows a clear majority of people support renationalising the railways.
Peter McColl said:
“People using the railways deserve services that are run to get them where they need to go most cheaply and efficiently. They don’t deserve services that are run primarily for private profit. The East Coast service is crucial for Edinburgh and Scotland, and it’s important we get Green voices at Westminster to argue for its return to public hands.
“While the current government is ideologically opposed to successfully run public services we will continue to see fares rising and services getting worse. East Coast ran substantially better as a public service than when it operated for profit. We must ensure that public services are run for public good, not private greed.”
British people support re-nationalising the railways by 60-20% – for the main reason that they should be accountable to taxpayers rather than shareholders (YouGov):
Caroline Lucas railways bill: