How will the SNP use new powers over public sector rail franchises?

The Scotland Act 2016 has given the Scottish Parliament the power, for the first time, to allow a public-sector bid for rail franchises in Scotland. This power was secured by the SNP government, after being repeatedly denied by successive Labour and Tory governments.

In our manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016, we made clear our intent to ensure a public sector bid for future rail franchises. This year we will identify a suitable public body to make a robust bid for the next ScotRail franchise and will confirm the next steps for the preparation of a bid.

The rail network – infrastructure like track, signals, tunnels and bridges – is already publically owned by the UK government. We support the further devolution of Network Rail in Scotland so that it becomes fully accountable to people in Scotland.