Media Release

Labour’s rail nationalisation plan ignores benefits of rail franchising

Responding to Labour's manifesto promise to bring railway franchises into nationalised ownership, SMF research director Nigel Keohane said:

“Arguments in favour of rail nationalisation ignore the significant benefits derived since the introduction of rail franchising, including huge expansion in the number of passenger journeys and an upward trend in quality over recent decades.

“Instead of nationalisation, we should build a market structure that is more passenger-orientated system, whether this is when trains run, how fares are set or how passengers can automatically be compensated when trains are delayed or cancelled.”

Nigel Keohane can be contacted on



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The Social Market Foundation (SMF) is an independent, non-partisan think tank. We believe that fair markets, complemented by open public services, increase prosperity and help people to live well. We conduct research and run events looking at a wide range of economic and social policy areas, focusing on economic prosperity, public services and consumer markets. The SMF is resolutely independent, and the range of backgrounds and opinions among our staff, trustees and advisory board reflects this.

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