Network Rail: Funding and Reliability - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:34 pm on 26 April 2023.

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Photo of Baroness Taylor of Stevenage Baroness Taylor of Stevenage Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Transport) 3:34, 26 April 2023

My Lords, over the past few months, passengers across England have continued to suffer from really unreliable services, as we have heard this afternoon. Fares have increased by 5.9%. Between October and December last year, 4.5% of all trains were cancelled—the highest rate since 2014. Can the Minister therefore explain why the FirstGroup franchise and Govia Thameslink have recently reported dividend payments of £65 million and £16.9 million respectively in their annual accounts for 2022, despite their continued failings? Does the Minister not agree that that would be better invested in the future of railways?