Press Comment: Renationalisation is a complete red herring

In response to the potential renationalisation of Southern Rail, Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, Ben Southwood, said:

“Renationalising Southern will not solve its problems: it’s already state-run for all intents and purposes. In fact, if it was still a franchise—as it was up till 2015—the company would likely have bought off the union, whether or not their concerns about drivers are operating doors are valid.
“The whole Southern palava is a bizarre case of everyone pulling the wool over everyone else’s eyes. The system is simply not run in a remotely private fashion, like Virgin on the East and West Coast Mainlines, or First with Great Western. It’s run like Arriva “runs” London buses—that means the government calls the shots and Govia Thameslink Railways simply does everything they ask, including on pricing, staffing, and revenues.
“Once again, renationalisation is a complete red herring - it's essentially already happened."

For further comment or to arrange and interview please contact flora@adamsmith.org.