Edinburgh East MP Sheila Gilmore has campaigned tirelessly alongside other local Labour politicians against the plans to reprivatise the East Coast line since these were announced in 2013, as they believe it would be a backward step on the government run service.
Today she reacted angrily to reports that a joint bid between Keolis – a company largely owned by the French Government – and Eurostar has won the contract to run intercity services on the East Coast Main Line from 2015.
Ms Gilmore said:
‘Passengers recognise the improvements to services that East Coast have made under public ownership over the last four years. They also appreciate that at present, all profits are retained for the benefit of British passengers and taxpayers.’
‘But despite calls from Labour for these arrangements to continue in the long term, today we hear that East Coast is set to be privatised just before the next General Election.’
‘Ironically if the contract is awarded to Keolis – which is largely owned by the French Government – ticket revenue may well be reinvested in improved services. Unfortunately these will be services between places like Paris and Lyon or Marseille and Monaco, rather than Edinburgh and London.’
‘A future Labour Government would allow a public sector operator to bid for rail contracts, so that passengers and taxpayers always get value for money.’