Joe has criticised the SNP over their decision to award the ScotRail franchise to Abellio, the International arm of Dutch state rail company Nederlandse Spoorwegen, before the Smith Commission publishes its plans for further devolution.
Scottish Labour and the Rail Unions had called on the SNP to delay the tendering process to allow the devolution of powers which would enable the Scottish Government to return Scotland’s Railways back to public ownership. It is expected that these powers will be devolved following the Smith Commission.
Joe had previously voiced his support for ‘Labour’s New Deal’ on Rail which offered the devolution of rail franchise powers to the Scottish Parliament with a clear commitment that they would be used to bring the ScotRail franchise into public or co-operative ownership.
Speaking after the decision Joe said,
“This decision let’s down rail passengers across Scotland. With the promise of further devolution coming in the next few months there was a real opportunity to bring Scotland’s railway back into public or mutual ownership which would have brought fresh investment to our rail network and offered the chance of delivering a fairer deal on fares for commuters.
“Instead the SNP have locked us in to a 10 year contract which will see the profits from Scotland’s railways used to invest in lower fares and better rail services in Holland rather than here at home.”
“Transport Minister Keith Brown is standing in the SNP Deputy Leadership contest and I am led to believe that he was being telling SNP members that he supports bringing Scotland’s railway back into public ownership. Well here was his chance and he blew it. It is yet another example of the SNP talking left and then acting right.”