Corbyn to launch transport campaign with rail pledges

Jeremy Corbyn Train

Jeremy Corbyn is to renew his pledge to renationalise the railways and promise fare savings of up to 10% for passengers under a Labour government.

In a campaigning blitz focused on transport, he will also unveil new plans to give councils more control over bus routes.

After a day when his opponent, Owen Smith, focused on defending his record on the health service, Corbyn will switch the Labour leadership agenda to transport on Tuesday, with speeches on rail nationalisation that he will say could drastically lower fares, citing research commissioned by the TUC.

Corbyn will launch what his campaign has called Transport Tuesday with an attack on the performance of the beleaguered Southern rail.

He will first speak at a protest organised by Unite and rail unions – the Transport Salaried Staffs Association; Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers; and the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen – at London Bridge station as part of their campaign day. Further transport-centred rallies will then take place in the Midlands.

The Labour leader will say the ongoing chaotic delays on the route are proof that “private transport operators cannot be trusted with having passengers’ best interests at heart”.

“Public ownership of our railways is needed now to fix the transport nightmare we are currently faced with, and we know there is overwhelming support among the British public for a people’s railway,” he will say.

“It is only by bringing the railways back under public ownership as the contracts expire, that we will fix the rail crisis and I’m pleased that even some Tory politicians are now joining us in calling for Southern rail to immediately be brought under public ownership.”

Smith, the former shadow work and pensions secretary, has also said he is in favour of renationalising the railways. However, Corbyn will also announce a plan to extend public control over bus networks, allowing local authorities to have franchising power and establish municipal bus companies, which he will say will lead to improvements in rural and more socially useful bus routes.

Corbyn will say: “Together these plans for the bus and rail network will help us rebuild and transform Britain’s transport system, so that no one and no community is left behind.”

The Labour leader’s bus plan is based on research by Transport for Quality of Life, who have estimated local authority bus franchising could generate net financial gains of up to £340m a year if introduced nationwide. A Labour government would use the funds to restore cuts to the bus service operators’ grant, Corbyn’s campaign said.

On Monday, Corbyn was revealed to have swept the board of constituency Labour party nominations, winning the support of 285 constituency Labour parties and Smith taking just 53 nominations.

Nominations do not have a bearing on the leadership voting process but act as statements of support. Ballot papers will be sent out by post and email next Monday, to be returned by 21 September with a midday deadline. The result will be announced at a special conference on Saturday 24 September in Liverpool.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jessica Elgot Political reporter, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 16th August 2016 00.01 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010