Are you aware that, Brexit or no, huge amounts of your money are funnelled into European Union countries – because of Tory privatisation of our national assets?
That may seem a strange way to open an article about this year’s 2.7 per cent increase in rail fares – but the point is that the extra money being extorted out of commuters will go abroad, to fund foreign rail services.
And the fact is that trains in the UK are now almost entirely state-owned – by foreign countries.
Yes, by stupidly selling off our railways into private hands, the Tories allowed them to slip into the ownership of foreign national railways.
It is to those firms that the extra money from yearly rail price increases goes.
Alternatively, perhaps you’d prefer to think of it in these terms: the same foreign rail services – owned by EU states – have creamed off seven-eighths of the subsidy that the UK government provides to privatised rail services and are using that money for themselves.
When I reported on this three years ago, that subsidy totalled £3.999 billion from the year services were privatised (1994) until 2017 – meaning foreign-owned rail systems had made £3.5 billion in profit from the UK.
Now, with far more of the network owned and run by foreign countries – and three years later – the amount of profit is likely to be far greater.
And the Conservatives running the UK absolutely love giving that money away.
They love the fact that almost all the money the Treasury has been providing to improve the service has been leeched off in profit for foreign rail services instead.
They love the fact that rail fares have shot up by nearly half since 2010, squeezing commuters’ pay packets – which are already worth less than they were in 2008 due to Tory austerity.
They have to love it – otherwise they have to admit that privatisation is a crushing failure that harms UK citizens rather than empowering them.
By contrast, rail fares in Germany have just been cut by 10 per cent.
German state-owned railway Deutsche Bahn runs around a quarter of all UK rail operating companies through its firm Arriva UK Trains.
So, if you have travelled by rail over the last few years, your money has helped make it cheaper for Germans to use their trains.
That is the result of UK rail privatisation.
The Tories are responsible for this. Still, at least the Germans know what to do with it, if only in their own country.
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