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zathras
14th July 2005, 18:19
Mr Byers Foot meet mouth.

Will someone please tell him to keep digging, hopefully the rest of his labour cronies will fall in with him :D

On the BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4683927.stm)



Ex-Transport Secretary Stephen Byers has admitted lying to MPs about events leading up to Railtrack's collapse.
He told the High Court his evidence to a Commons sub-committee had been untrue. He apologised but said he had not been trying to conceal any plot.

The admission came on the last day of Mr Byers' evidence in the case of Railtrack shareholders who are claiming compensation.

Mr Byers denies forcing Railtrack into insolvency to avoid compensation pay.

Motivation?

About 50,000 shareholders claim the government deliberately allowed the rail infrastructure firm to fail in October 2001, and are demanding £157m in compensation.

When Mr Byers was questioned by a Commons sub-committee, he said he was not aware of a change in Railtrack's status being discussed before 25 July 2001.

But in the court on Thursday he was challenged over this version of events by the shareholders' barrister - who produced documentary evidence showing the work had started.

They included e-mails and notes from Department of Transport officials showing that taking Railtrack into administration had been one of the options being discussed as early as June.

Mr Byers admitted his evidence to MPs had been untrue.

He said: "It was not a truthful statement and I apologise for that. I can't remember the motivations behind it."

'The 10 Commandments'

The MP later told the court he had been under pressure during the hearing and had not set out to conceal any conspiracy or plot.

Mr Byers resigned as transport secretary in May 2002.

At the time, he said he had tried to "behave honourably", adding "the people that know me best know I am not a liar".

Mr Byers has told the High Court the Treasury had concerns about ending Railtrack and removing the role of shareholders.

He said Chancellor Gordon Brown had a list of 10 conditions to be met before he would agree to Railtrack being changed to a non-shareholder company.

The list was internally nicknamed "The 10 Commandments", he said.

At a meeting on 19 September 2001 - three weeks before Railtrack went into administration - Tony Blair told Mr Byers he had to talk to the chancellor if he wanted more money to fund the company.

But the court heard it was left to Mr Byers to decide whether to take the company into administration if he decided to refuse Railtrack's request for more money - subject to the Treasury conditions.

Advance strategy?

Mr Byers said he had worked with his officials to see if the conditions could be met.

On Thursday, the shareholders QC, Keith Rowley, about when he made up his mind.

"I suggest there was a clear strategy, developed by you and your officials, accepting that Railtrack would not immediately collapse but might fall over in a year or two, to force Railtrack into administration by ensuring you held all the cards and all other options were closed off," said Mr Rowley.

But Mr Byers replied that his discussions with officials were "sensible contingency planning" in case it was decided to refuse to give the company more funds.

There is one more witness to be heard in the court case and lawyers for both sides will spend most of next week delivering their closing speeches.

The judgement in the case is not expected to be delivered until after the court's summer break.

AtW
14th July 2005, 18:41
But it was known he lied -- that's why he had to resign from his job back then. So its old news.

Dundeegeorge
14th July 2005, 19:09
Alexei, lying to us mugs is OK. But lying to the house is a testicular-removal job, or at least it used to be.

I don't know about 'Byers lying over railtrack' I'd rather see 'Blair lying on railway track, as Gordon hurtles towards him', the flying scotsman indeed!

AtW
14th July 2005, 19:16
Alexei, lying to us mugs is OK. But lying to the house is a testicular-removal job, or at least it used to be.

Yeah I know that, but I thought he was caught lieing to the House as I vividly remember the Sun or other tabloid saying that Bayer (sp?) is a liar on their frontpage -- he did not sue them even though they were challenging him to do it.

Anyhow I think shareholders got zero chance in court, the lesson is not to invest in company whose life depends on the Govt.

wendigo100
15th July 2005, 07:48
Just so we know what a good decision Byers and Blair made:

Railtrack were put into administration because they wanted to bring forward 750 million of Government funding, because of the unforeseen rescheduling of maintenance work following Hatfield.

Network Rail sucks five times that amount from the Government every year, and rising. It now has £21 billion of debts, which are underwritten by the Government, but because it is a hybrid organisation known as "a company limited by guarantee", controlled by 100 "members" appointed by the Government, its borrowing does not appear anywhere in the public accounts.

A cross-party public accounts committee forecast that Network Rail will not match Railtrack's punctuality record before the Hatfield crash of 2000, until 2008.

wendigo100
15th July 2005, 10:39
Railways will always be too expensive. There is no way they can be made cheaper unless services are cut.

Privatisation a disaster? At least the tories tried to do something about it.

Having them back under the government just means that costs will rise faster.

hyperD
15th July 2005, 13:34
On the contrary, the railways would have been better off if the Tories had left them alone.

Indeed.

http://www.beechingreport.info/

thunderlizard
15th July 2005, 20:25
I wish Byers would lie over a rail track, preferably with one of Virgin's £200-a-ticket Windows-XP-look-and-feel trains approaching.
teehee
tl

AtW
15th July 2005, 20:39
Railways will always be too expensive. There is no way they can be made cheaper unless services are cut.

This is bullcrap. The railways have huge fixed costs and they struggle to break even i this country without subsidy because too few people travel on them. Sadly British railway companies don't seem to want customers -- look at the price of peak time London tickets from Brum to London to understand that the price is used to supress demand. The higher the price goes the less people travel, and the less people travel the bigger the shortfall in revenues.

The end result is this -- peak time trains are overcrowded and at other times trains are empty: they should be giving away tickets on those just like Easyjet does, but they prefer to keep prices high to deter customers.

AtW
15th July 2005, 21:37
Why on earth the track had to be run by a different company than the trains is quite incomprehensible.

It had to be because when you have many companies that have trains in parts of the country crossing same rail non-exclusively you can't ask them to maintain same tracks: it makes perfect sense to have one company responsible for maintenance of the track: this company should be co-owned by actual train carriage companies, and this rail maintenance company should operate on non-profit basis.

stackpole
15th July 2005, 23:14
This is bullcrap. The railways have huge fixed costs and they struggle to break even i this country without subsidy because too few people travel on them. Sadly British railway companies don't seem to want customers -- look at the price of peak time London tickets from Brum to London to understand that the price is used to supress demand. The higher the price goes the less people travel, and the less people travel the bigger the shortfall in revenues.

The end result is this -- peak time trains are overcrowded and at other times trains are empty: they should be giving away tickets on those just like Easyjet does, but they prefer to keep prices high to deter customers.
Alexie, I don't understand your argument here.

You say peak time rail tickets are pricing people off the trains, then admit that they don't by saying that peak time trains are overcrowded.

Well, I have to use the buggers and I'll agree they are overcrowded, so the high prices are not suppressing demand enough. People still pay the higher prices, the London commute is still packed, and still the railways lose money.

If you want low prices for off-peak travel or little-used routes you've got it. And there are loads of deals to get people on the trains. But, quite simply, that isn't when people want to use them.

Get rid of the railways, I say. What is the bloody attraction of them these days anyway?

AtW
16th July 2005, 00:10
Alexie, I don't understand your argument here.

You say peak time rail tickets are pricing people off the trains, then admit that they don't by saying that peak time trains are overcrowded.

There is no contradiction here -- they use high price to keep people away, if price was lower then overcrowding would have been much worse.

What they lack is serious capacity


Get rid of the railways, I say. What is the bloody attraction of them these days anyway?

I would agree -- people can actually save money by switching to cars, if you get two people in the car then its cheaper to travel pretty much anywhere, certainly at peak time which is the main issue. Additionally those people would actually contribute taxes by paying duty for petrol rather than consume taxes in subsidy.

All good, but small size of this country makes it ideal for properly run trains -- make trains run at 200mph and suddenly they are much faster than cars, thus being preferable, certainly increase of capacity will be needed to break even or ideally make profit.

WageSlave
18th July 2005, 08:46
I would agree -- people can actually save money by switching to cars, if you get two people in the car then its cheaper to travel pretty much anywhere, certainly at peak time which is the main issue.

What about parking? Finding a parking place in central London is a nightmare. Very few companies have sufficient spaces available.