To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of private sector provision on the railway on (a) the public finances and (b) investment in the railways.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
8 January 2015
Since Privatisation annual rail passenger journey growth has averaged almost 4%, compared to 0.58% over the previous 60 years and the number of passenger journeys has more than doubled from 735 million in 1994/95 to 1.6 billion journeys in 2013/14. On a network roughly the same size as 15 years ago there are now 4,000 more services a day, which are all delivered through dynamic private sector stewardship with the flexibility to respond to the needs of passengers. This is reflected in improved passenger satisfaction scores, which are at a higher level now than when these were first collected in the late 1990s.
Investment in the rail network is at record levels and the Government’s Rail Investment Strategy will see £38bn spent by Network Rail on enhancing and maintaining the network between 2014-2019.
There is no consistent performance measure that has been in place since privatisation so it is not possible to make a meaningful comparison. However, performance in recent years has been higher than it was in the later 1990s, when figures were first available, on a network that is far busier and safer than it was at that time.
Private sector train operating companies provide billions of pounds to the public purse. The last 5 franchises let by this Government alone (Thameslink Southern Great Northern; Essex Thameside; InterCity West Coast; South Eastern; InterCity East Coast) are due to pay over £9bn to the Department for Transport over the lives of their contracts.