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Govia slapped with £23.5m penalty over Southeastern scandal

The rail firm was stripped of the franchise in October last year due to the serious breach of its contract.

17 March 2022

Rail firm Govia has been handed a £23.5 million penalty over the Southeastern franchise scandal, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

The company – a joint venture between Go-Ahead Group (65%) and Keolis (35%) – deliberately concealed more than £25 million of historic taxpayer funding relating to High Speed 1, which should have been returned.

Its operator, London and South Eastern Railway Limited (LSER), ran Southeastern services from 2006 until it was stripped of the franchise in October last year due to the serious breach of its contract.

Control of services on the network – which stretches across south-east England including London, Kent and East Sussex – was handed to the DfT’s Operator of Last Resort.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “I took decisive action and did not renew the contract with Southeastern following this appalling breach of trust.

“Our rapid and firm action protected taxpayers and passengers – ensuring much-needed services continued to run.

“LSER’s behaviour was simply unacceptable and this penalty sends a clear message that the Government, and taxpayers, will not stand for it.”

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