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July/August 2017
For Business, Corporate Travel & Meeting Buyers & Arrangers

Labour plans to renationalise UK railways

Great Western train

The Labour party wants to renationalise the UK’s railways according to a draft manifesto leaked to national newspapers.

Taking the current rail franchises back into public ownership is one of the key policies in the 43-page document. The official manifesto is due to be launched next week.

If Labour wins the General Election on June 8, it plans to renationalise the railways as the existing privately held franchises expire and also repeal the Railways Act of 1993, which first privatised the network.

Labour is also planning to freeze rail fares, offer free wifi across the network and end the policy of having driver-only operated trains, which has caused the long-running industrial dispute between Southern Trains and its employees.

The party also wants to improve the accessibility of the rail network for disabled people.

Labour, under leader Jeremy Corbyn, also wants to renationalise the Royal Mail and parts of the energy industry.

On Brexit, the party also says it wants to negotiate transitional agreements to “avoid a cliff-edge for the UK economy” if no deal is struck with the EU within the formal two-year period.

While Labour has said it “does not comment on leaks”, Labour MP Andrew Gwynne said during media interviews today that profits made by a renationalised railway would go back to the Treasury instead of going to private franchise holders.

He also pointed out that East Coast mainline services had been run by the government for five years until 2015 when a new franchise was awarded to a joint venture between Virgin and Stagecoach.

A Conservative spokesperson said: “The commitments in this dossier will rack up tens of billions of extra borrowing for our families and will put Brexit negotiations at risk.”

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