Southern Rail owners Go Ahead ramp up dividends and stockpile cash while services are left to rot and safety standards are slashed
New research by transport union RMT has found that as passenger brace themselves for yet another fare increase in the New Year the four big transport groups that own many of Britain’s Train Companies are so profitable that they are sitting on increasing levels of enormous cash reserves as well as paying ever higher dividends whilst simultaneously minimising the amount of tax they are paying.
A detailed analysis of the accounts of Go – Ahead, National Express, Virgin and Stagecoach has found that
The average annual change in cash reserves is +15.75%
Average the average annual change in dividends is +8.68%
Average annual change in tax -36.8%
The full data set and chart for each company is attached and the figures for each company will dismay passengers.
For example the amount held in the bank by Southern Rail owners Go Ahead rose from £128.9m a year from 30 June 2007 by five times to £636.3m in year to 2 June 2016.
In addition the amount that Go-Ahead paid its shareholders increased while the amount that it paid the Treasury fell. Dividends rose from £28.9m in year to 30 June 2007 by 36% to £39.4m in year to 2 June 2016
Tax paid fell from £23.6m in year to 30 June 2007 by 22% to £18.5m in year to 2 June 2016. The total dividend paid over this period was £344.8m while the total tax paid over this period was £183.8m.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said,
“These figures show that not only are rail companies paying out ever higher dividends they are also sitting on increasing huge cash reserves whilst paying less and less tax.”
“All of their revenues come from the tax and fare payer and while the rail companies are getting richer by the year while the passenger and taxpayer get less.”
“What’s equally as scandalous is they are sitting on hundreds of millions of pounds of idle wealth which could instead be put to work increasing rail capacity and staffing and reducing fares.”