Rail companies gave shareholders £ 38million after being bailed out by taxpayer during Covid lockdowns, new analysis finds
- Rail companies paid shareholders up to £ 38million in dividends last year
- This was despite the billion dollar bailout by taxpayers amid the pandemic
- 30% of operators said they would pay dividends to shareholders for 2020/21
Rail companies paid shareholders up to £ 38million last year despite a billion-dollar taxpayer bailout amid the pandemic.
Six out of 20 operators have declared in their annual accounts that they will pay dividends to shareholders for 2020/21, according to an analysis by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
This is in addition to the £ 15bn ministers invested in the railways during the pandemic, effectively taking them into public ownership.
The highest dividends identified by ORR were for CrossCountry (up to £ 12million), Avanti West Coast (£ 11million), MTR Crossrail (£ 7million) and Arriva Rail London ( £ 6million).
Rail companies paid shareholders up to £ 38million last year despite billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts amid pandemic
The highest dividends identified by ORR were from CrossCountry (up to £ 12million), Avanti West Coast (£ 11million), MTR Crossrail (£ 7million) and Arriva Rail London (£ 6million). pounds sterling)
Former Railways Minister Norman Baker said the payments were “not very nice” at a time of rising tariffs.
A spokesperson for the operator of Avanti West Coast First Rail said the payments “are the management fees that the government pays us to provide the services for which they have contracted us.”
A spokesperson for Transport for London, which subcontracts MTR Crossrail and Arriva Rail London, said: “Where possible, TfL has worked with its operators to achieve savings.”
CrossCountry did not respond to requests for comment.