Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf has called for full devolution of rail powers to reverse what he called ‘the current unacceptable industry performance’, following highly critical report into Network Rail’s handling of major rail infrastructure projects in the country.
The Scottish Government said the EY review had exposed fundamental weaknesses in Network Rail’s project governance, controls and performance reporting, as well as weak and inconsistent cost forecasting and significantly higher costs to comply with national standards.
Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf
Mr Yousaf said: ‘The Scottish Government has warned repeatedly that there needs to be fundamental changes in how our railways are run. Time and time again we have set out a full and compelling case to the UK Government for the full devolution of Network Rail to Scotland. Time and time again these requests have been rejected, most recently in March this year yet this review adds weight to our calls for transformation.
‘We know passengers are already frustrated, not least as this review comes hot on the heels of the need for ScotRail to implement a Performance Improvement Plan – something we are closely monitoring. While we are doing what we can to address the issues at hand, our powers are limited.
‘That is why I have made clear to Network Rail’s chair, Sir Peter Hendy, and chief executive Mark Carne, my expectation that they will increase the scale and pace of their decentralisation agenda. As a minimum I expect this to include the full transfer of responsibilities for the development, design and delivery of infrastructure projects to their Scotland route.
Mr Yousaf added that he had raised the issue of full devolution of rail powers with UK rail minister Paul Maynard and would continue to press the issue ‘as only with full powers can the Scottish Ministers consider the full range of options for structuring our railways in order to meet Scotland’s needs’.