This document was published in April 1983 by Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
It was written by House of Commons Select Committee.
The original document format was Scanned Images, and comprised 78 pages.
This document was kindly sourced from British Official Publications Collaborative Reader Information Service and is in our Financial & economic reports collection. It was added to the Archive on 2nd October 2004.
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"1. On 5 May 1982, the Secretary of State for Transport appointed a four-man
Commiffeechaired by Sir David Serpelt KcB, CMG, OBE, "TO examine the finances of
the railway and associated operations, in the light of all relevant considerations, and
to report on options for alternative policies, and their related objectives, designed to
secure improved financial results in an efficiently run railway in Great Britain over the
next 20 years". The Committee was asked initially to report within 5 or 6
months-this limit was subsequently increased by one month.
2. The report of the Serpell Committee was signed on 20th December 1982 and published one month later on 20 January 1983. On 9 December one of the members, Mr Alfred GoIdsrein, had indicated that hecould not support the report and thus both a majority and minority report were published in January. All references in our Repon to "the Serpell Report" are references to the majority report; references to the minority report are identified as such.
3. The Serpell Report hascreated considerable interest both within Parliament and also outside among the many organisations and individuals who are concerned about the future of the railways. The report hasalso excited much criticism. This has centred firstly on the belief that the network options outlined in Part II of the report appear to put forward for serious consideration the closure of a very substantial section of the rail network and secondly on the fear that the railways' high standards of safety could be undermined by some of the proposals for savings in engineering costs which were advanced by the Committee's consultants. One of the members of the Committee disagreed both with the general approach to the Review adopted by the majority of the Committee and also with some of their findings and conclusions. The minority report contrasts strongly with the majority report and is, in particular, rather less sanguine about the scope, in the short-term, for savings in British Rail's costs of operation.
4. In our opinion the hostile reaction that the Serpell Report provoked was due, at least in part, to the leaks which occurred prior to publication and which gave a rather distorted impression of the report's contents. Although we are not uncritical of many aspects of the SerpeII Committee's work, we believe that the leaks were unhelpful and in some respects misleading, and that they have tended to inhibit discussion of the report as a whole.
5. In view of the importance of the issues which the Serpell Committee was established to examine and of the criticisms of the way on which these issues were addressed by the Committee, we felt it would be helpful to take evidence from those most directly involved in setting up and carrying out the Review."
Serpell Committee Report on the Review of Railway Finances: Second Report from the Transport Committee...
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