Labour Party 'won't rule out reforms of railways'.
LABOUR leader Ed Miliband refused to rule out bringing the railways back into public ownership, saying the party was "looking at all the options".
He has come under pressure from former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott and more than 30 would-be Labour MPs to commit to renationalising the industry. Mr Miliband said Labour would not return to the old days of British Rail but the current system was flawed.
He has been urged to consider the success of East Coast since it was taken back into public ownership, with Lord Prescott suggesting the existing franchise deals should simply be allowed to lapse.
The Labour leader told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "We are looking at all the options on the railways. We are not going to go back to old-style British Rail."
He said Labour would be "pragmatic" and "we have got to recognise that the system at the moment has flaws in it".
"Passengers are paying high fares in this country and we are paying big subsidies from the taxpayer."
East Coast was in public hands but the Government was "dogmatically" privatising it, he said.
"I want to see value for money for the taxpayer. I am never going to write a blank cheque and I am not going back to the past, but we are looking at the different options."
He added: "There is a balance to be struck here because there are some benefits you can have sometimes from competition and we are not gong back to the old monolithic model that was British Rail.
"But we do need to look at how we can have a coherent system."
The call for renationalisation from prospective parliamentary candidates came in a letter to The Observer.
They said: "Train companies walk away with hundreds of millions of pounds every year, despite running monopoly services and benefiting from PS4 billion of public investment in the rail network every year. These profits are even helping keep down rail fares on the continent as many of Britain's rail services are run by subsidiaries of the state railways of France, Germany and the Netherlands."
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||May 5, 2014|
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