Rail Franchising

Part of NHS Winter Crisis – in the House of Commons at 4:44 pm on 10th January 2018.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Secretary of State for Transport 4:44 pm, 10th January 2018

No—forgive me, but I am going to explain this in detail.

Passenger numbers are rising on this railway; customer satisfaction is up; and the line is generating a healthy and growing operating surplus that is providing a much greater return to the taxpayer than when it was in the public sector. It is also worth saying that it is running more services and employing more staff. The money that the franchise pays to the Government is today 20% higher than it was under public ownership. But Virgin and Stagecoach got their numbers wrong. They have been losing money steadily, and have now lost the best part of £200 million in the past three years. Despite that, I am holding them to their full financial obligations, taking every last penny of the £165 million guarantee that we insisted on when they took on the franchise.