Railways: Update - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:12 pm on 29th November 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Sugg Baroness Sugg Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 4:12 pm, 29th November 2017

My Lords, I do of course recognise the noble Lord’s vast experience in this area but I am afraid that I do not recognise the description of the announcement today as a bailout. As the noble Lord will know, as part of the bidding Stagecoach made a series of financial commitments. It has met them in full to date and the Department for Transport expects it to continue to honour them. We will hold VTEC to its obligations and in the meantime will ensure that passengers are protected. The noble Lord mentioned the Directly Operated Railways solution. Since 2015, VTEC has contributed on average 20% more per rail period to the taxpayer than when the line was operated by Directly Operated Railways, and has achieved consistently high passenger satisfaction. It will have a rollout of new rolling stock in 2018. The choice today is not between OLR and privatisation. As announced, we are implementing the first regional public/private partnership on the route to deliver the best of both the private and the public sectors.