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Swinney calls for Labour nationalisation of Network Rail



First Minister of Scotland John Swinney called for Labour to fully nationalise Network Rail.

The SNP leader will officially open the Levenmouth rail link, Fife, on Wednesday, and called for the Labour Party to follow Scotland’s lead by nationalising railways in England.

The Scottish Government has brought ScotRail into public ownership, delivered new rail lines and stations and is piloting the removal of peak fares.

Mr Swinney said the SNP will force Labour to the left at Westminster – and urged them to end austerity with a major infrastructure investment package which will reverse cuts to Scotland’s capital budget imposed by the Tories.

First Minister John Swinney during a visit to meet project leads and apprentices working on the Levenmouth rail link (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

He called for Sir Keir Starmer to “follow the SNP’s lead” by nationalising rail services in England.

Mr Swinney said: “The SNP’s record in government shows what is possible with a government operating from the left of centre – we’ve brought ScotRail into public ownership, invested in new infrastructure and taken action to drive down ticket prices, saving people hundreds of pounds during the cost-of-living crisis.

“This is the approach Keir Starmer must take in government rather than simply continuing with Tory austerity. He should commit to a significant infrastructure investment programme to reverse the cuts to Scotland’s capital budget and invest in the future.

“He needs to follow the SNP’s lead by taking rail services south of the border into public hands – and finish the job by nationalising Network Rail and cross-border services.

“Keir Starmer has spent his entire career running away from traditional left-of-centre values like public ownership – and taken left wing voters for granted by lurching to the right and adopting Tory policies.

“But we cannot afford more of the same – Westminster has inflicted austerity, Brexit and a cost-of-living crisis on the people of Scotland – and it is time for a genuine alternative.

“The SNP will push Labour to the left and demand that they are focused on Scotland’s values, meaning they can’t take Scotland or left-leaning voters for granted.”

Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray said “This is an embarrassing blunder from a First Minister with no clue and no ideas.

“While the SNP brushes up on the basics, Labour has a real plan to nationalise and modernise rail across the UK.

“Passengers in Scotland and across the UK deserve better than unreliable services, extortionate fares and Victorian infrastructure.

“Labour will deliver the change our railways need with a new publicly-owned GB rail company which will work hand in hand with a publicly-owned devolved ScotRail.”

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