Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 June 2011

McNulty report points to further fragmentation and privatisation

Workers say: Renationalise the railways!

Mike Wheeler
TSSA rail union, personal capacity
RMT protest against Tube privatisation, photo Paul Mattsson

RMT protest against Tube privatisation, photo Paul Mattsson

The McNulty report on railway 'value for money' stands alongside Lansley's NHS 'reforms' as a brazen attack on our public services by this aggressive government.

Potentially, this report is the most destructive thing to happen to our railways since the Railways Act of 1993.

The government gave Sir Roy McNulty the task of finding out why the subsidy levels that are received by Britain's railway companies are 35% higher than in the state-owned railways across Europe, and also to find out why that subsidy has doubled in real terms between 1997 and now. In essence why are privatised railways so expensive?

The main cause the report identifies is the fragmented nature of the industry. Private companies build in multiple tiers of inefficient duplication. Each level is draining profits out of the industry and the taxpayers' pockets into the coffers of the huge holding companies.

But McNulty's answer to the problems caused by fragmentation and privatisation is yet more fragmentation and privatisation.

The rail unions guessed correctly where the cuts would hit. It is made very clear with a stark statement: "Changes in terms and conditions (for rail staff), especially drivers, will reduce costs".

There is also an attack on the hard-won final salary pension scheme. It says changes will only work if the staff "buy-in". So they are asking staff to not only accept this fate but to help them reduce their terms and conditions and reduce their pension.

Millionaire Philip Hammond, secretary of state for transport, has the audacity to claim that the solutions he wanted were not ideological but focussed on delivering for passengers (freight is absent from their thinking).

One of the 12 "barriers to efficiency" is "unproductive relationships", the main ones being with the railway unions. So there are a series of measures that are set to almost remove the unions from the railway.


The new chief executive for Network Rail, David Higgins, has already begun a series of devolution projects. This is separating control from a central Network Rail to regional Infrastructure Managers with separate accounting. This will, in effect, create mini Railtracks!

But McNulty does not think that this goes far enough and proposes to hand over control of infrastructure, track and signalling from Network Rail, a not-for-profit company, to profit-making Train Operating Companies (TOCs).

TOCs initially proposed are Scotrail, Southeastern, South West Trains, First Great Western, a merged Northern Rail/Trans Pennine Route and the Greater Anglia franchises. The Greater Anglia franchise is described as the "first cab off the rank".

These steps take us back to the days of Railtrack who presided over the deaths at Ladbroke Grove, Hatfield and Potters Bar. All of these disasters involved cost cutting. This time it will be worse as there will be 'light touch' legislation.

Further attacks are proposed to rural and suburban lines that have been described as "sucking in tax-payers' money".

But this report fails to understand the role and advantages of a fully integrated public transport system. There are suggestions of downgrading lines to light rail or trams, with staff multi-tasking.

Other attacks include moving the railways to Driver Operator Only. Most trains are proposed to be unguarded and have the potential to become unsafe.

What is needed is a publicly run transport system that is affordable and efficient and only a publicly run not-for-profit service can deliver this.

The rail unions and passengers need to join together to stop the attacks. We need to go further and call for nationalisation of our railways. We must publicise the fact that the reason our railways cost more to run is due to the high profits made from the companies grabbing the public subsidy.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 29 June 2011:

30 June pensions strike

Next step: one-day public sector strike

Socialist Party editorial

Con-Dems' pension attack demands coordinated and determined response

Unison conference

Unison conference Socialist Party meeting spells out action needed

Unison delegates reject leadership proposals

Socialist Party news and analysis

Universities on the cheap!

Trade unionists must fight for LGBT rights

Western governments more concerned about business deals than human rights in China

News in brief

Socialist Party workplace news

'Hard lesson' for tube management as driver wins reinstatement

Shafted By AEI cables

'No redundancies!' say Forest Hill school teachers

Trade union news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save heart services for children!

Jobs threat at Derriford hospital

Nuneaton: exterminate the cuts!

Marching against cuts in Haringey

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Who speaks up for workers?

Socialist Party news

Why I left Labour - and joined the socialists

Public money into private firms' hands

International socialist news and analysis

Greece, Spain, Britain... We won't pay for their crisis

Syria: Regime steps up repression... but opposition continues to grow

Socialist Party review

The Pitmen Painters

Socialist Party features

Workers say: Renationalise the railways!

Private railways rip off fares

National Pensioners Convention parliament

Socialist Party events

Socialist Party summer camp - bigger and better than ever!


Home   |   The Socialist 29 June 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleBrutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services

triangleNationalise rail now

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleStrike wave continues

triangleStrikers picket the South Western Railway network


triangleSchool staff strike against privatisation

triangleLabour council Blairites deselected

triangleDWP to outsource more work to Capita

triangleCorbyn must challenge pro-gentrification council leader or others will


triangleAfter the budget - unions must launch pay fight

triangleChatsworth neuro-rehab ward still open - unions join the campaign

triangleUnions must fight workplace mental health crisis


triangleArriva bus strikers stand firm

triangleThe Socialist Inbox


triangleRMT wins important tube jobs and grading victory

Public transport:

triangleWhat we saw

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded



Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme



Branson sues NHS: kick out the profiteers



Royal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system



RBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks



Rough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests



End Tory war on poor



Nationalise rail now


Them & Us

Them & us



Tory housing policy: build zilch, hike prices



Make the Tories history



Birmingham bin workers win!


British economy

Amber warning lights flash on British economy



After the budget - unions must launch pay fight


Climate change

Carbon dioxide hits 800,000-year high: end profit-driven pollution

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice