Wed 6 May, 2015

On the last full day of campaigning for the General Election, leading Green candidate Peter McColl was at Waverley Station in Edinburgh to call for the return of the railways to public ownership.

Rail renationalisation is a high priority for the Greens, and represents the party's wider drive for public services to remain in public hands - a stance which includes opposition to the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Waverley station is served by Virgin East Coast and Scotrail, among other operators. Before the UK Government awarded East Coast to Virgin and Stagecoach, the publicly-owned railway returned £1billion over five years to the public purse. The Scotrail franchise, now run by Dutch public sector firm Abellio, returned a profit to previous franchise holders First Group of between £10m and £15m a year.

Green MP Caroline Lucas introduced a Bill at Westminster to return the railways to public ownership.

Mr McColl, the candidate for the Scottish Greens' main target seat of Edinburgh East, said:

"A clear majority of Scots want the railways back in public hands, but no party at Westminster is fighting their corner. Only the Green MP Caroline Lucas has pressed for renationalisation; we need more Green MPs to make sure the majority is heard.

"East Coast ran substantially better as a public service than when it operated for profit. We must ensure that public services are run for public good, not private greed.

"Our railways are just the start of the privatisation bonanza we can expect if corporate lobbyists get their way with TTIP. Their intention is to give corporations the power to dismantle public services, workers' rights and environmental protections that get in the way of their profits.

"I'm glad some parties have realised that the NHS must not be exposed to this treaty, but the NHS is not the only thing at stake. Green MPs will oppose the TTIP treaty altogether."

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