Should companies be let off the hook?

  oresome 19:40 17 May 2018

I'm referring to rail franchises.

Promise the earth in order to win the contract and then bail out when the going gets tough.

  morddwyd 19:50 17 May 2018

Are you seriously suggesting that big business should be held to account?

That sort of integrity has long gone from the boardroom and the Lower House.

All got their eye om their retirement income!

  HondaMan 09:56 18 May 2018

IMHO ALL railways should be re-nationalised along with water, electricity and public transport. These services are too important to be left to profit-making companies.

  Cymro. 12:57 18 May 2018

I agree completely with HondaMan on this one

  wee eddie 13:13 18 May 2018

British Rail was wonderful ~ No it was disastrous, dreadful, underpaid and surly Staff, dreadful timekeeping and filthy trains.

Many of the current Water problems can be assigned to lack of investment by successive governments.

If you ever travelled by bus in the late 70's, you will realise why the arrival of the likes of Cotters, on the Glasgow/London run was greeted with such joy.

  Forum Editor 14:19 18 May 2018

"These services are too important to be left to profit-making companies."

We can choose what we want, and we could certainly choose to nationalise our public transport systems. What we would be choosing is a return to the days when nobody in British rail cared much about anything, except keeping their jobs.

They certainly didn't care about wasting public money, or making the services more efficient, or more comfortable because they knew that we, the traveling public had no say in the matter - we could take it or leave it as far as they were concerned and we ended up with an appalling rail service that ground to a halt every time the Unions fancied flexing their muscles. Once you put the transport systems into State ownership you put your head right into the lion's mouth - you have to keep the system running at all costs....and those costs rapidly spiral out of control.

If we chose to go down Jeremy Corbyn's route, and voted for a party which would nationalise the railways again we would live to rue the day. An entire generation of younger voters has no clue about the mess we had to endure in the past, and lots of them tend to see a nationalised transport system an attractive proposition.

A system of private operators has its problems, there's no doubt about that, but it is infinitely preferable to the alternative.

  Forum Editor 14:27 18 May 2018

"Are you seriously suggesting that big business should be held to account?"

Big businesses are accountable to their shareholders, and that means millions of ordinary citizens, as well as pension funds and institutions. Big businesses are also accountable to the law of the land, and if you want to do something to tighten up accountability you would do well to look to the regulators and auditors who are supposed to be doing the job for which they are paid. You might also look to the Civil Service which drafts the franchise agreements and contracts that are awarded to commercial concerns.

Instead of knee-jerking into the standard 'let's attack the fat cats in the boardroom' attitude, you might want to take a broader view.

  Quickbeam 14:56 18 May 2018

I never had a bad experience from British Rail, was I the exception?

  beeuuem~2 15:09 18 May 2018

When I was but a boy (!) ! I was an apprentice for Telephone Rentals. At the time of the 1966 General Election I was at Cleveland Bridge and Engineering. Doing any work at any of the steel works was a nightmare. Literally, and I mean literally, if you wanted to cut a wooden plug to put a screw in or, God forbid, cut a mounting backboard to size we were supposed to get a joiner and his mate to do it. Demarcation, brother ! To put in one particular 'phone near a furnace required an electrician, a joiner, a bricklayer (?) and their respective mates.

It must have been the afternoon of 1st April when the result was announced over the Tannoy and a rousing cheer rang around the works acknowledging that Mr Wilson had won and all 'Spanish practices' were safe at least until the next election.

In that respect they were anything but the 'good old days'. I know British steel wasn't formed until the following year, however the steel companies were in thrall to the unions and were at their mercy even prior to that.

Many of those who now wax lyrical about union power and nationalised industries didn't have to live with the poor service that they engendered.

  morddwyd 16:37 18 May 2018

as well as pension funds and institutions.

Which are run by the same people who are in the boardrooms and the private equity co,panies.

Where the bankers led, Carillion and others follow.

I know you are not that naive, FE, but you are living in the past. Self discipline and integrity in the boardroom and the corridors of power crumbled at the and of the last century.

  LastChip 10:35 19 May 2018

As the FE says, there's a whole generation out there who have no idea just how bad things were under Nationalisation. I for one, would not want to go back down that road.

As for the rail franchise, the tender premise was flawed. For anyone to try and project (guess) income seven years ahead, is a nonsense. Most companies don't get it right a year ahead, let alone seven. It'll be pure luck as to whether it's successful or not. No one can continue racking up losses at the rate the Virgin/Stagecoach franchise was.

The alternative? Let them go bust like Carillion? Another umpteen thousand people out of work? Is that really an option?

History shows, whenever government becomes involved directly with business, it's a disaster. Nothing has convinced me this time would be any different.

The truth is, the present crop of MP's are the worst I can ever remember and most (not all) have little or no idea what it's like in the outside world to run a successful business.

If they spent more time with their mouths shut and ears open, we might be in a better place.

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