The Curmudgeon


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Gravy Trains

Network Rail is due to publish its annual report and remunerate its executives for having achieved punctuality in ninety per cent of services at the cost of only three lives and a debt of twenty-two thousand million pounds. This debt is not part of the Government's balance sheet because the former transport secretary, Lord Adonis, did not wish to undermine the company's ability to do as it pleased with all the public money that was being thrown at it.

The Office of Rail Regulation calls Network Rail's performance "mixed" and has expressed the opinion that the remuneration committee needs to exercise its discretion "to recognise the full performance picture". The present secretary of state for transport, Philip Hammond, a multi-millionaire who likes to use taxpayers' money to pay for his newspapers and cutlery, has intimated to the company chairman that large bonuses make for bad public relations at the moment, but has hinted that he may be prepared to offer alternative opportunities for graft. These include longer franchise terms so that the incentive of competition may be restored to its proper place in the free market; greater control of timetables so that Network Rail may adapt its obligations to its efficiency levels; and the ability to cut services in areas where the public displays insufficient concern for the company's financial well-being.


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