Sunday, November 12, 2006

Paddington rail crash "fine" is just paper shuffling

While looking though the Bristol news site, I came across this item which I felt merited a post of it's own.

The fine imposed on Network Rail will most likely consist of nothing more than a transfer of funds between the Ministry Of Transport and The Treasury.

The financial penalty Network Rail faces for its part in the Paddington rail disaster could be paid directly to the Treasury, the Evening Post has learned.Survivor Colin Paton, who lived in Brentry at the time of the horrific Ladbroke Grove smash in 1999, has uncovered the latest controversy to follow the tragedy, which claimed 31 lives and left hundreds more injured.

It will most likely be paid into the same pot as speeding fines, meaning it will not necessarily go towards improving the country's beleaguered railway infrastructure, the Office of Rail Regulation has confirmed. Any Government department can apply for grants from that fund.

The Department for Transport, which controls Network Rail's funds, refused to comment.Meanwhile, the Office of Rail Regulation - the new health and safety regulator for the rail industry - confirmed the fine would most likely be payable to the Treasury.

So the money won't necessarily be used to improve the railway - and it won't be used for compensation for the victims. One person, though, did get substantial compensation following the accident. Gerald Corbett, the former chief executive of Railtrack got more than £800,000.

Railtrack has defended the pension and compensation payments, which total £860,000.

And Network Rail has already been given substantial subsidies by the government - so whatever the fine is will just come out of the money the Treasury has already given them!

That's joined up government for you.

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