Rail Franchising

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 28th January 2016.

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Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Shadow Minister (Transport) 9:30 am, 28th January 2016

In 2011, FirstGroup, which runs Great Western, avoided paying contractual premium payments to the Treasury by choosing not to take up its option of a three-year extension, but in January 2013, the Secretary of State abandoned the competition for a new franchise and simply agreed a renewal with First until 2015, and subsequently announced a second direct award running till 2019, thereby avoiding the inconvenience of a competitive bidding process. Have not the Government made a mockery of free market franchising?