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Southern Rail: Taxpayers face £50m bill for strike chaos

14th Dec 16 9:27 am

The latest on Southern Rail…

Taxpayers are footing a £50m bill for the biggest set of strikes seen in a generation, the company in charge of the train line stands to save money.

The mass walkout of drivers and conductors on the Southern Rail line led to trains being cancelled for up to 300,000 passengers in the South East on Tuesday.

This has prompted ministers to strengthen anti-strike laws.

Due to a deal struck with Southern by the government, the cost of this huge disruption will be borne by the taxpayer.

Under terms of the deal, the government will set out to pay £38m in fare revenue and will pay out up to £15m in compensation to passengers.

Govia Thameslink Railway, who run Southern Rail are saving an estimated £1.1m in pay for drivers and conductors who are out on strike this week.

Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, said he would take a “careful look” at strike laws after the industrial dispute ends. He added, “We can’t leave our railways exposed,”.

Nick Herbert, the Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs and a former minister, said: “Because of the way the franchise is structured, there isn’t proper accountability. It should be the company bearing the cost of compensation and failure to meet targets.”

“Whilst I am certain it is the unions that are currently causing most of the problems, there are separate underlying issues with the franchise.”

The strike action will continue Wednesday and Friday, and is due to be followed up by further action in the lead up to Christmas and the New Year.

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