A TRADE union activist believes the new Great British Railways scheme is a ‘missed opportunity’.

Steve Nott, who is an activist for RMT, the union that represent rail, maritime and transport workers, says the Government-backed scheme has failed to address the key concerns and represents a risk to the taxpayer.

Mr Nott, who is also a Barrow councillor, said: “It is a missed opportunity.

“The headline is that it is going to see the end of franchise model, but it isn’t. It means that there will now be management contracts, which will then be handed to franchisees.

“Rather than there be the risk on the franchisee, they are just going to manage the franchise and if they meet certain targets then they will get bonuses which will go to their stakeholders and not the taxpayer, but if they don’t then there won’t be any cost to them.

“It basically means that all the risk will be piled on the taxpayer if the management contracts fail.”

Last week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Keith Williams, Chair of the Williams Review, unveiled their plan for Britain’s rail.

From 2023, the Williams-Shapps Plan For Rail says Great British Railways will simplify the purchasing of tickets for passengers and a greater move towards contactless and digital payments.

Despite last Thursday’s announcement, which plans to save money for rail season ticket holders, Mr Nott is adamant more should have been done.

The Dalton South councillor explained: “I do welcome the cheaper fares in relation to season tickets but it doesn’t go far enough.

“We’re meant to be building for a greener future.

“In this area we should be looking at electrification of the Furness line.

“If we’re serious about it in this country we need to be discouraging people from driving and using cars and the best way to do that is getting people to use public transport but it is not affordable.

“It is not affordable to people when it costs them £50 to get to Manchester and back.”

Mr Nott called for the nationalisation of the Britain’s rail.

“We should be scrapping away the dead weight of the private companies,” he said.

“There is a lot of good people involved in the railway system but everybody should be working on the same page and there shouldn’t be any companies coming in from outside.

“The railways should be nationalised for the benefit of the taxpayer and all the money that they make goes back to funded improvement to the network and reduced fares for the passengers.”