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DfT 'failure' over WCML

DfT 'failure' over WCML

A report into the West Coast Mainline franchise has criticised the Department for Transport over its "damning failure".

The Laidlow report, published today, said a lack of transparency, inadequate planning, and a "complex and confusing organisational structure" was to blame for the fiasco.

It comes after Virgin trains was handed the contract to run the West Coast Mainline for another two years, while a long-term bidding process is carried out.

But Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin this morning defended the Government, and claimed ministers could not be held responsible for the failures.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr McLoughlin said ministers had acted "in good faith", but had been handed "inaccurate information" by civil servants.

“I’m afraid there was a damning failure by the department and that must be put right," he added.

But Labour's Maria Eagle said ministers could not "evade their own responsibility" for the "fiasco".

"It was Ministers who decided to experiment with a risky new franchising policy on the most complex of contracts, carry out a bizarre reorganisation that left no civil servant with responsibility for rail, cut a third of the Department’s staff and axe external financial scrutiny of contracts," the Shadow Transport Secretary said.

Green Box: DfT 'failure' over WCMLClick to open

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