On Yorkshire Day I was proud to join local TSSA trade unionists and rail campaigners at Leeds railway station, to campaign against the re-privatisation of the East Coast Main Line.
It makes no economic sense for the Government to re-privatise the East Coast Main Line. It currently brings in hundreds of millions of pounds to the Treasury and reinvests its profits back into improving the service. A private operator will be looking to take that profit and put it into the pockets of shareholders instead.
This is yet another example of the Tory-led Government putting ideology before common sense and being completely out of touch with the wishes of the voters.
Whilst I joined campaigners at the station, leafleting and talking to commuters about the Government’s decision, protests were also held at eleven East Coast Main Line stations, including three others in Yorkshire – York, Wakefield Westgate and Doncaster.
Analysis published last week by Action for Rail shows that, since returning to state control in 2009, the East Coast Main Line has returned £602 million to the Treasury – over £220 million more than the Virgin-operated West Coast Line. Over the same period Virgin, which has expressed an interest in taking over the East Coast Main Line route, paid shareholders nearly £200 million in dividends.
By contrast, all of the profits East Coast Main Line has made since being re-nationalised have been invested back into improving the service and by 2014 is expected to be generating over £800million for the Treasury.
A survey carried out by Survation for the campaign group ‘We Own It’ shows that only one in five voters (21 per cent) are in favour of re-privatising the East Coast Main Line.
EndsThis happened on the day when a new opinion poll showed that only one in five voters (21 percent) are in favour of the re-privatisation.