The latest rail subsidy figures show Network Rail was given 7% more in 2014-15 as operating grant compared to the previous year. In addition it received £6.4 billion of Treasury guaranteed/subsidised loans for its capital spending programme. When Parliament returns I will want to ask more questions about value for money, progress with curbing inefficiency, and prospective returns on investment.
The main Train operating companies in England sent money to the Treasury as payments to run their franchises. Once again the train companies in receipt of the largest subsidies were Merseyrail, Scotrail and Arriva in Wales. Merseyrail’s subsidy ran at 19.8 p per mile, Scotrail at 13.8p, Wales at 13.6p and Northern at 7.8p. In contrast South West Trains paid in 9.6p a mile, East Coast 8.2p, Thames Link and First Capital each paid in 7.2p a mile to the Treasury. ( I have converted the published figures into pence per mile from pence per km as I thought we had agreed to keep miles for distance measures in our country)
There was an increase in private sector investment in new trains and total net payments by the train operating companies of £802 million to the government. This reflects the fact that the train companies required to pay in money sell more tickets to more passengers than the companies in need of subsidy.
Prior to Labour’s creation of a nationalised Network Rail total rail subsidies ran at around £2 billion a year (in today’s prices) compared with more than double that now. Total net rail grant of £4.8 billion and £6.4 billion more public borrowing means the railway alone now adds £11.2bn to annual public spending. There is considerable scope to improve on this performance.