Rail workers were left fuming yesterday after a cross-party group of MPs tasked with reforming the industry backed cuts to services while giving private-sector profiteers a free ride.
The Commons transport committee's Launching 2020 report, which examines government proposals to reform the rail sector, "supports the McNulty report's general approach to achieving substantial savings".
The committee's endorsement of Sir Roy McNulty's widely criticised plan to save £3.5 billion by 2018/19 came despite acknowledged concerns over its impact on safety, staffing and the protection of passengers' interests.
The McNulty review proposes huge cutbacks to staffing on trains and platforms with ticket offices up and down the country threatened with closure.
His proposals are expected to spell massive fare rises and further fragmentation to the rail service.
The committee admitted it was "very concerned" about the safety implications of proposals to reduce staffing at stations and on trains.
The group did rule out plans to gouge rush-hour prices, with chairwoman Louise Ellman MP warning that reducing the cost of railways to taxpayers must not be achieved by "ramping up fares."
Ms Ellman said it was vital to show the public how their money was spent on the railways "so that there is confidence it does not leak out of the system in the form of unjustified profits."
Figures revealed in Launching 2020 show that government support for the industry has almost doubled from £2.75bn, adjusted for inflation, in the late 1980s when rail was in public ownership to £4bn today.
Subsidies soared to £7.48bn in 2006/07, but despite this MPs still ignored the possibility of bringing rail back into public ownership.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Whilst this report reinforces that our railways are nothing more than a multibillion-pound rip-off lining the pockets of a bunch of spivs and speculators it ducks the real issue, and that's the cast-iron case for public ownership.
"You can't have transparency, accountability and value for money while our railways are bust apart and run as a money-making racket for a gang of private operators.
"Until Labour and the rest of the political class wake up to that fact, the great British rail robbery will continue unchecked with passengers bled dry while the train companies are laughing all the way to the bank."
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis probably had a fair idea what Sir Ken Knight would deliver when he asked him to conduct an "independent" report into fire and rescue services in England.
As LGBT activists worldwide celebrate anti-homophobia day we are reminded of prevailing prejudice
Bradford has seen the launch of a new campaign to battle the sources of child sex exploitation - and combat far-right bids to make it a racial issue