On Monday I sent the following letter to the longer serving members of Network Rail, who are meant to be the taxpayers’ representatives holding the management to account:
I am writing to you to ask what actions you, in your role as a Public Member of Network Rail, have taken in recent years to protect the interests of taxpayers in the way Network Rail spends money and adds to its borrowings.
I would be grateful for a brief guide to the main issues you have raised and where you have tried to secure improvements to the value for money and financial security of taxpayers’ investment. I am not looking for an executive Network Rail reply to my queries, but to your Member response.
In particular I would like to know:
1. Why you have backed borrowing in foreign currencies for a business whose revenues and grants are all in sterling, exposing it to currency risk?
2. What is your appraisal of the use of derivatives by Network Rail? What is your forecast of the likely gains and losses from the derivative strategies being used?
3. How long will it take to achieve the efficiency improvements identified by the external review of Network Rail?
4. Have you examined the issues arising from the development and use of railway land, and the issues arising when other developers and land owners wish to gain access to their land across the railway?
The Rt Hon John Redwood MP
Member of Parliament for Wokingham