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

I am going to finish this point, and then I will take the hon. Gentleman’s intervention, if that is okay.

That is a huge sum of money for a British business with a market capitalisation of under £1 billion pounds. It is also one of the biggest bonds of its kind ever provided in the rail industry. But despite Labour’s claims, this is not a bail-out. There is no viable legal mechanism through which I can extract any more money from the company. My Department is preparing contingency plans as we do not believe that the franchise will be financially viable through to 2020. I clearly have a duty to do that for passengers. When we reach a conclusion that works, I will come back to this House and make a statement. However, I do plan to go ahead with the east coast partnership, as I indicated in my statement a month ago. People in this country do not understand the separation of track and train, and as part of our reforms we are bringing the two together, as Sir Roy McNulty recommended in his report. I now give way to the hon. Gentleman.