Secret payments that have been made to Northern Rail from the Government have come to a total of £31 million and this has been met with stark criticism from the RMT Union.
It was found that the £31 million of taxpayers money was paid from April 2016, giving the company the chance to make a profit of £33.7 million during the same period. However, the claims have been denied by the DfT who have said that the claims are misleading and that the figures have been misunderstood. Therefore, the RMT Union has been told to stop sending out stories that are inaccurate but instead put more of a focus on ensuring that the needs of passengers are met by calling off strikes and starting discussions.
Northern hit back at the criticism form RMT saying that they disregarded inflation, stating that the payments were for alterations to services. The deputy managing director of Northern, Richard Allan has said that it is wrong to call the payments secret payment and again confirmed that the payments have been made in order to deal with the delivery of the changes to services as requested by Transport for the North and DfT. Therefore, the payments are based on the additional costs or lower revenue for Northern that have come from these changes. It was also made clear that passenger numbers had dropped below anticipated levels and that was because of the introduction of services and RMT’ strike action.
However, RMT has said that these figures show that MPs have misled the public about the way in which taxpayers money is being used. They have classed this as a scandal as parliament has not been informed and ministers have authorised these payments to the tune of £31 million. All of this has only now come to light and that is where the concerns lie.
This all follows and long and arduous dispute between both Northern and RMT over the role of the second person on Northern train services. It has now got to the point where Northern has now as for an ACAS inquiry in an attempt to deal with the issue. Following the news that the DfT and Transport for the North publicly confirmed that a second person would remain on the service, the RMT has said that strike action will go on as it heads towards the 43rdday of strike action.