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Candidate calls on region's MEPs to defend Public Ownership of Rail

The lead European candidate for the South West Green Party, Dr Molly Scott Cato, has called on the region’s MEPs to pledge publicly that they will vote against a new proposal from Brussels that could limit our ability to make choices about how we run our national rail services.

MEPs will be debating and voting on The Fourth Railway Package this week, a new set of regulations being proposed by the EU Commission. The proposals would force member states to open up domestic passenger services to competitive tendering and could, say the Greens, impose the failed model of fragmentation and privatisation currently applied in the UK [1].

The proposals come at a time when public ownership of public services is increasingly popular with UK voters [2]. South West Greens also point to the strong support for their campaign and petition to take back the Great Western rail franchise into public ownership when the current contract expires in two years time [3]. In a recent appearance on the BBC Politics show, Dr Scott Cato also highlighted the failure of investment in the South West under the private ownership model, which has seen 100 times more being spent on transport investment in London than the South West. [4] Dr Molly Scott Cato said:

"How ironic that at a time when the idea of taking back our railways into public ownership has never been more popular with the British public, the European Commission is seeking to impose a failed model of privatisation on domestic rail passenger services in EU member states. Greens in the European Parliament will fight hard against any moves to remove the freedom for countries to choose which way they want to run their passenger rail services. For Greens in the UK that means, unequivocally, public ownership of our railways." 

The Green Party is the only political Party fully committed to taking back the railways into public ownership, arguing it would save taxpayers more than £1 billion a year and lead to lower fares and better services.

Notes

[1] The EU’s Fourth Railway Package

RMT perspective: http://www.rmt.org.uk/campaigns/rail/stop-eu-rail-privatisation/
Full EU proposals: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/rail/packages/2013_en.htm

 [2] In a recent YouGov poll 66% support nationalising the railway companies while 23% think they should be run privately. http://yougov.co.uk/news/2013/11/04/nationalise-energy-and-rail-companies-say-public/

[3] South West Green Party are calling for the return of the Great Western rail franchise to public ownership when the current rail franchise operated by First Group comes up for renewal in 2015. The epetition has over 1400 signatures to date http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/56244

 [4] Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report referred to in ‘Transport spending 'skewed towards London'’ BBC news 18 December 2011: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-16235349

Molly Scott Cato is the lead European candidate for the Green Party in the South West. She is an internationally renowned green economist and is the Green Party National Finance Speaker. http://southwest.greenparty.org.uk/euros2014starthere/molly-scott-cato.html

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