Government accused over rail costs
A train companies' chief today accused the Government of contributing to the cost and inefficiencies on the railways.
Association of Train Operating Companies' chairman Tom Smith told MPs that there was "too much Government involvement" in the day-to-day running of the railways.
He also questioned the validity of the finding of the Whitehall-commissioned McNulty report that the UK railways were 40% less efficient than some European railways.
Appearing before the House of Commons Transport Committee, Mr Smith said that the European comparison was "something of a smokescreen" and was very difficult to evaluate.
The McNulty report also said that inefficiency within UK railways was such that 30% of cost cuts was needed.
Asked about this by the committee's chairman Louise Ellman MP today, Mr Smith said that it was "very hard to say" whether the 30% figure was correct.
He added that he did not think the 30% figure was "100% reliable".
There were also "highly-prescriptive demands" from the Government within the rail franchise specifications which were "contributing to the cost and inefficiencies that we see today".
Copyright Press Association 2012