HC Deb 10 July 2003 vol 408 c880W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the removal of the rail franchise from Connex South Eastern. [124484]

Mr. McNulty

On 26 June 2003, the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) served notice to terminate the Connex franchise on 31 December 2003. They did so because they were not satisfied that Connex had introduced agreed changes to their financial monitoring and reporting arrangements designed to ensure that the substantial public subsidy they had received was being properly used. The SRA will run the service under their 'operator of last resort' powers, but have emphasised that they will do so for only as long as is necessary to appoint a new private sector operator. In the meantime, the SRA expect it to be business as usual for passengers and for the great majority of Connex staff.