Green party

Real Progress on public transport: Renationalise the railways

Conference notes:

1. That the September 2004 Labour Party conference voted by a margin of almost 2 to 1 for rail renationalisation to be included in the Labour manifesto for the next general election - yet the Labour government refuses to include that policy in its manifesto.

2. That the Green Party continues to offer the electorate the opportunity to vote for rail renationalisation - that, once again, it's the Green Party, not Labour, that offers the unions and traditional Labour voters the policies they want to see implemented.

3. That transport minister Alastair Darling has claimed renationalisation would cost £20 billion - but that, in fact, taking the Train Operating Companies back into public ownership as their franchises expire would not cost a penny (1).

4. That Green Party policy envisages a model of public ownership and control aimed at ending the well-known problems associated with privatisation but also of overcoming the shortcomings which existed in the old form of nationalisation.

Conference therefore instructs Green Party Executive to:

1. Contact the relevant trade unions to seek their public endorsement of this Green Party policy.

2. Continue to emphasise in its media and electoral work that voting Green means voting for a publicly owned, publicly funded and publicly accountable national rail network.

Background note:

1. One TOC, South East Trains, is currently back in the public sector, albeit temporarily, after its private owners Connex performed poorly. South East Trains should stay in the public sector and the other TOCs should join it as their franchises come up for renewal. The companies which own the trains, the three ROSCOs, could be bought from the private sector later. Since they were sold at privatisation for less than £2 billion so they certainly would not cost £20 billion to buy back.

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