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MPs repeat call for Network Rail to have more taxpayer accountability

MPs today repeated their demand for public spending watchdog the National Audit Office to have immediate access to Network Rail costs to enable it to fully scrutinise Department for Transport spending.

House of Commons Public Accounts Committee chairman Margaret Hodge said that it was “unacceptable” that Network Rail was still not “fully transparent or accountable” to Parliament or the taxpayer, despite it receiving £3bn from the DfT annually, which also underwrites £25bn worth of its debt.

During the evidence sessions leading up to the committee’s release of today’s report Reducing Costs in the Department for Transport, MPs had already heaped criticism on the DfT for failing to induce substantial enough savings from Network Rail for this spending period.

Hodge added that the committee was concerned that the DfT had failed to gain a complete understanding of what impact its cuts to road maintenance will have on the state of the UK’s roads.

“My committee is concerned that short-term budget cutting could prove counter-productive, costing more in the long-term as a result of increased vehicle damage and the higher cost of repairing the more severe road damage,” she said.

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