By Deirdre Tynan • 28 September 2021 • 10:01
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
The Government will take over part of the English rail service after a massive breach of the franchise contract.
The Government’s Operator of Last Resort is to take over running of London & South Eastern Railway (LSER) services from October 17. It insists passengers, or prices, will not be affected.
The move comes after a serious breach of the franchise agreement’s “good faith” obligation in relation to financial matters was identified.
An investigation conducted by the Department for Transport has identified evidence that since October 2014 LSER has not declared over £25 million of historic taxpayer funding which should have been returned.
To date £25 million has been recovered and further investigations are being conducted by the owning group into all related historic contract issues with LSER.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, said: “There is clear, compelling and serious evidence that LSER have breached the trust that is absolutely fundamental to the success of our railways. When trust is broken, we will act decisively.
“The decision to take control of services makes unequivocally clear that we will not accept anything less from the private sector than a total commitment to their passengers and absolute transparency with taxpayer support.
“Under the new operator, we will prioritise the punctual, reliable services passengers deserve, rebuild trust in this network, and the delivery of the reforms set out in our Plan for Rail – to build a modern railway that meets the needs of a nation,” he added on September 27.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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