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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-18378: Gail Ross (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 22 August 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what steps are being taken to ensure that a public sector body can bid for rail franchises in Scotland.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 23 August 2018

The Scottish Government secured a legislative change through the Scotland Act 2016 that allows public sector bodies to bid for rail franchise contracts in Scotland. The requirement for the contracts to be let through open competition remains.

The consistent view of this Government over many years is that there ought to be a level playing field between the private and the public sector in bidding for rail franchises. In line with our manifesto commitment, we want to enable a competitive public sector bid to strengthen competition in order to secure best value for the public purse while delivering continuous service improvements.

David MacBrayne Limited has confirmed its interest in exploring the possibility of a bid for a Scottish rail franchise contract. Indeed, any public sector body that wishes to consider bidding for a rail franchise contract that is let by the Scottish Ministers is able to do so – that is a decision for them. Future Scottish rail franchise competitions will continue to be fair and transparent, giving equal treatment to all bidders whether from the public or private sectors.