Monday, June 27, 2011

British rail travel four times more expensive than on France's state-owned network

The Morning Star reports:

British rail passengers are having to fork out £4.6 billion a year more than travellers on France's public owned railways, transport union RMT revealed today.

Fares on Britain's privatised network are four times more expensive than their French equivalent, according to an RMT report by research firm Just Economics found that lower and middle-income families were being "completely priced out of the rail market" following years of fares rises.

Overcrowding on British railways was also far worse than in other countries, including France, Spain, Germany and Italy.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Like the McNulty review, this study compares privatised UK rail with European services, but, unlike McNulty, it has not turned a blind eye to the huge social and economic cost of privatisation.

"We already knew that Britain's railways are the most expensive in Europe, but this study exposes the shocking degree to which UK rail users are being fleeced by the greed and stunning inefficiency of the rail privateers and made to suffer unnecessary overcrowding."

You can read the whole article here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Scottish Power to raise gas bills by 19%

The Guardian reports:

Household budgets face further pressure after a leading energy company said it was raising gas bills by 19%.

Scottish Power, which will also raise electricity tariffs by 10%, said it would add 48p to the average daily combined gas and electricity bills of its 2.4 million customers, an extra cost of £175 a year.

You can read the whole report here.

More on this story here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Press Release on the Sale of the Tote


Today is a very sad day for British horse-racing.

Announcing the sale of the Tote, Britain’s publicly-owned bookmaker to the private bookmaking chain Betfred, gambling and racing minister John Penrose said ‘Most people can’t understand why in the modern world, the government should be even part owner of a bookie.‘ But the Tote is no ordinary bookmaker. Since its foundation in 1928 by Sir Winston Churchill, it has helped British racing develop into the wonderful sport it is today. Last year the Tote gave £19m to racing and sponsored over 700 races. The Tote’s profits are ploughed back into the sport and it largely because of the Tote and the generous support it gives racing, that we have such diverse racing in Britain, with no fewer than 60 racetracks.

The Tote is no failing business, but a much-loved institution that has carried out its duties in support of racing perfectly well for the best part of a century. For a comparatively small sum- £90m, the government is selling-off another national asset.

There is no logical reason to sell the Tote, no one in racing was calling for its privatisation. The long-term effects for racing, a sport which employs over 100,000 people directly and indirectly and which brings pleasure to the lives of millions of people are likely to be disastrous, with Tote betting shops likely to be closed and small tracks threatened by the likely ending of the Tote’s subsidy.