LABOUR leader Ed Miliband is expected to announce plans this weekend to introduce two new rail bodies overseen by parliament as part of a renationalisation scheme. The plans could allow public sector companies and not-for-profits to run key routes.
At the party’s national policy conference in Milton Keynes, Miliband is expected to detail proposals to reform rail franchises and introduce a strategic body, which would sit above Network Rail, to oversee ticketing and set policy. A passenger rail body is also set to be created to ensure rail users get value for money.
According to a Labour spokesman, the plans are driven by a desire to move away from the “ideological obsession” surrounding private sector companies running the UK’s railways. The move follows the government takeover of the East Coast mainline operations after National Express said it could no longer afford to run the franchise.
Conservative transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin warned the plan would lead to higher fares.
“This short-term gimmick from Ed Miliband, demanded by his union bosses, will mean more government borrowing, higher rail fares and worse services for hardworking taxpayers,” he said.
“And it’s yet more evidence that Ed Miliband doesn’t have a long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future. It’s the same old Labour and it’s clearer than ever that Ed Miliband is just not up to the job.”