After this morning’s announcement that the government’s Operator of Last Resort is to take over the running of the London & South Eastern Railway – following an investigation which revealed that more than £25 million of taxpayers’ money was not declared by LSER – Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has called for the money to be paid and for the company to be banned from running future franchises [now under a system of direct awards by the DfT].
He said: ‘Whilst we welcome LSER coming back under public control it should be permanent at a time when the industry is in flux due to post-pandemic uncertainty. The millions of pounds being talked about that the company has not paid has be fully investigated. Steps must be taken to ensure it is paid and the group precluded from bidding for, or receiving, franchises in direct awards.’
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