Scotland, like Wales, should bring rail back under public control
Railways in Wales are to be brought under public control.
Wales’s Transport Minister, Ken Skates, said that nationalisation would help secure the future of passenger services and protect jobs.
The move won the support of the Scottish Greens, whose Transport spokesman John Finnie said that the decision could help build an integrated system of public transport “that is vital in tackling the climate emergency too.
“Ministers should be inspired by what Wales has done,” Mr. Finnie said.
Private firm KeolisAmey, a joint venture between French transport giant Keolis and Amey, has run the franchise in Wales for just two years after taking it over from Arriva Trains Wales in 2018.
From February all services and staff will come under the direct control of a publicly owned company, Transport for Wales Rail Ltd.
Trade unions have welcomed the decision, with train drivers’ union Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan calling it “good news” for passengers, for staff and for the people of Wales.
He said: “Privatisation — as everyone knows — hasn’t worked.
“The railway is a natural monopoly, and a monopoly that should be run in the public, not the private, sector as a public service rather than as an opportunity for a few people to make a private profit.”
He said he hoped the Wales decision “sends a message to the governments at Holyrood and Westminster about the way forward for our industry.”
Rail union RMT general secretary Mick Cash welcomed the decision and said the Scottish government no longer had any excuse not to follow suit.
Mr. Cash said there was huge public support for the move, “because privatisation has never been an efficient way to provide value for money, and this is, even more, the case when extra funding has been needed during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, said, "The SNP is running out of excuses. It's time to bring rail back under public control as they are doing in Wales."
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes called on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to “follow the Welsh government’s lead and nationalise ScotRail.”