Scotland's Railways Need Social Enterprise Not Top-Down Control

Posted: 25 June 2018, in Press Release

Scotland’s railways need social enterprise not top-down control

As the UK Government takes over the running of the East Coast Main Line, following the failure of privatisation, Social Enterprise Scotland is calling for a rejection of both state and corporate ownership.

The Scottish Government is currently working on a public sector bid to take over the running of Scotland’s railways from current operator Abellio and Scottish Labour is now calling for renationalisation.

In response to these latest developments Social Enterprise Scotland has produced a set of guidelines to drive forward a better business model for ScotRail, that rejects the two standard options.

Duncan Thorp, Spokesperson for Social Enterprise Scotland, said:

“Nostalgia over the old days of British Rail is gaining political momentum, as the failed experiment of privatisation becomes increasingly obvious.

“However, despite the narrow, binary nature of the debate there are better alternatives to the failures of privatisation or government control.

“A new and independent social enterprise railway, owned by the people of Scotland, is the only viable way forward.

“Placing customers first, with an ethical remit, sustainable funding and employee management is the best model to improve our railways.”



1 New solutions for Scotland’s railways: Beyond state ownership and privatisation. #SocEntRailways. Guiding principles:

A new, national social enterprise – owned by the community, the people of Scotland.

A first class rail network – All ScotRail activity focused on reliability, punctuality, flexibility, comfort, technology innovation, customer service, the environment and local communities.

Customers first – Rail passengers on the company board and no private shareholders.

Democratic and empowered – A business managed by the employees who work there, with elected directors, getting rid of top-down, centralised control.

Financially sustainable – A profitable, independent and responsive Scottish business, a partnership of public, private and social investment.

Ethical – A specific remit to put people, planet and positive social impact at the core foundations of the business.

Combined trains and track – Finding ways to merge trains and track into one company to support integration and efficiency.

Working with others – a pro-active, devolved local partnership approach, rooted in local communities. Working in genuine partnership with other social enterprises across Scotland.

2 Read/share the Social Enterprise Scotland article: It’s time for social enterprise railways and here’s why.

3 What is social enterprise? Find out more about social enterprise at: