Southern Rail is currently operating on an emergency restricted timetable
Jeremy Corbyn will notch up his criticism of private rail franchises at an event in Brighton this evening, drawing on residents’ frustration with overcrowding, delays and cancellations on Southern Rail services in particular.
Southern has cut back to an ’emergency timetable’ amid an industrial dispute, and the CEO cannot say when full services will be reinstated.
Discussing the crisis, Corbyn will will say:
“If there’s one thing that can unite this party, and indeed this city, it’s campaigning to get rid of the Southern franchise and bring the railways into public ownership.
Despite the constant failures of the GTR franchise – which includes Southern and Thameslink – they continue to make huge profits while cutting staff, cutting services and raising your ticket prices.
“Labour will put an end to rip-off Britain. We will bring the railways back into public ownership, run for people not profit.
“Southern has cut 341 services and the government agreed to it. They should have said, “if you cut the services, we’ll cut you out”. But that would take a government that stood up for people.
“What is the point of a franchise agreement if a company can walk away from their commitments at no cost?”
Under Corbyn’s plan, any franchises that expire or collapse will be take back by a Labour government and put into public ownership. In the case of contracts that are not close to expiry, the law will be amended so that companies face losing their franchise if key performance targets are missed.
Creating a ‘People’s Railway’ has been one of Corbyn’s core policies throughout his time as Labour leader.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.