Connecting Norwich

Here in the city there are few issues that unite public opinion quite like our railways. The first hand experience of so many is one of expense, delay, 40 year-old rolling stock and poor value for money.

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My passion for ending public subsidy of huge private profit isn't ideological it's practical.

The economic impact such a poor service has on a city which is relatively isolated can not be underestimated. It affects everything from tourism and rail freight to business commute times.

It impacts on our quality of life. A poor rail network means more people using cars, more congestion, more pollution, more damage to the environment. It increases the working day and reduces the time we have to spend with loved ones.

It also hits our pockets. Some commuters are spending more than a third of their income on rail travel. 

At a public level value for money is even worse.The most cautious estimate is that public money going into the railways has increased from around £2.4bn per year before privatisation to around £5.4bn now. 

The reason? A combination of costly rail fragmentation; higher debt interest payments (compared to interest rates for public debt); complex profit margins for contractors and sub-contractors and dividend payments to private investors. 

That's why the Labour Party is calling for the setting up of a state owned not-for profit firm that will be able to bid whenever a franchise comes up for renewal.

Beginning the cost effective process of putting our railways back into public ownership and ending the costly, busted-flush of an experiment rail privatisation has become.

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