West Coast rail fiasco to cost £50m

TAXPAYERS have been landed with a bill of “£50m at the very least” for the West Coast rail fiasco, according to MPs.

The final cost to the taxpayer of the botched West Coast Main Line franchise award could be “very much larger”, a Public Accounts Committee report warned this morning.

The Department for Transport scrapped a decision to award FirstGroup the right to run the West Coast Main Line in October, blaming “serious flaws” in the way the bids were judged.

Labour MP Margaret Hodge, chair of the Committee of Public Accounta, said there was a “complete lack of common sense” in the way the DfT ran the West Coast franchise competition.

The DfT made “fundamental errors”, and the franchising process was “littered with basic errors”, the Committee said.