It seems like Scottish railways could be returning to public ownership again after over 20 years of privatisation from ScotRail, following reports that Transport Minister Humza Yousaf has made up his mind and decided that the Scottish Government does have the required power to put the rail back into the public’s hands.
ScotRail have been coming under fire for a while, with a petition being signed by over 19,000 people aimed at Humza Yousaf in an attempt to make the Transport Minister strip the company of their contract if they do not improve Scotland’s trains, therefore this news will be music to the ears of a lot of people around the country.
The rail firm was bought by Dutch public transport company Abellio last year for what was originally planned as a ten-year deal, however it appears that the Scottish Government have the option to cut this off after just five years if ScotRail are performing below expectations, with anything below 84.3 per cent in terms of punctuality the borderline for this.
John McDonnell, who is the Labour shadow chancellor that is calling for Labour and the SNP to join forces to make rail return to the ownership of the public in Scotland, has said, “This policy has overwhelming support across the UK and Scotland could lead the way in its implementation. The SNP has the ideal opportunity now to follow Labour’s lead and renationalise this essential public service.”
So are the Scottish leading the way for the English to follow if they make these changes to their rail? The support is certainly there all over the UK for this policy and should Scotland back these plans there is a possibility that others may follow suit. We shall have to wait and see how this story develops.