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British Rail (Dundee)

Volume 118: debated on Monday 29 June 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will discuss with British Rail management the implications of its Omega plan for the station in Dundee.

Is the Minister aware that these discussions have taken place against a background of secrecy at different levels of management in ScotRail, and that people have been summoned to meet senior management but no pencils and paper have been allowed into such meetings? Rather than having this type of closed-door consultation, would it not be better to wait until the NUR's independent economic firm of consultants, the National Economic Research Associates, completes its study, and then ensure that ScotRail takes account of its findings, which demonstrate that, with only a 4 per cent. increase in revenue, 10,000 jobs could be created on the railways? Those jobs are required to improve the service given by British Rail.

It is not unusual for an organisation to stand back and take a good look at its own management and methods, particularly when substantial new investment is coming on stream. ScotRail is doing just that and keeping staff and unions in the picture as it does it. Internal industrial relations matters are entirely for British Rail.

Is the Minister aware that the British Railways Board only two years ago built an amenity/ operations block at Dundee at a cost of some £250,000? Is he further aware that it has now been suggested that British Rail may be considering transferring the administrative functions from Dundee to Perth and that, if this were to happen, the block so recently built at Dundee would lie empty, and a replica block would need to be built at Perth? Will the Minister intervene to prevent British Rail from embarking on such a waste of taxpayers' money, and make sure that the administrative functions are retained at Dundee?

Where ScotRail decides is the most appropriate place to carry out its management functions is a matter for ScotRail and not for Ministers. However, I can say that, as far as the Dundee station staff are concerned, the plans which are now under dicussion will have no effect on the manning of Dundee station. The building to which the hon. Gentleman referred is entirely a management matter.