Public rail firm needs lowest state subsidy

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EDINBURGH North and Leith Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz has hailed new figures which show the publicly-owned East Coast rail line needs less state subsidy than any of the UK’s 18 privately-operated train routes.

Statistics published by the Office of the Rail Regulator show East Coast Main Line received only 0.2 per cent of UK Government funding for the railways – the lowest of all 19 lines – and paid £177 million in premiums back to the taxpayer – the second highest amount.

Mr Lazarowicz said: “The Government announced recently that the line would be returned to the private sector – this new report leads anyone looking at the future of the line to ask one key question, ‘why?’.”

He said profits were also up seven per cent last year in a difficult economic climate. “The Government seems to be putting ideology before the interests of passengers. Private isn’t always best but the Government seems intent on closing its eyes to the evidence.”