Corporate Killer Claws Back a Few Bob

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 07/05/2006 - 15:39

Today, esteemed representatives of the the wig-and-gown brigade ruled that Balfour Beatty should have its Hatfield crash fine cut.

£10m was disproportionate, apparently, because it was more than Railtrack's £3.5m fine. No-one appears to have suggested that Railtrack's fine could be increased to restore 'proportion' between the two firms.

Mind you, if there were just one company running and maintaining the railway, there would be no need for such concerns. And if it were publicly-owned and democratically-run, there may not even have been a crash and Their Out-Of-Touch Lordships need not have been troubled.

Tell you what the fine is really out of proportion with - Balfour Beatty's profits, which were £41m in the six-month period after the crash. By 2005, it was up to £134m for the full year.

Still, who can blame them? You don't maintain cash-grabs like that by looking after railways properly. Or by refusing to quibble over triflingly small numbers of millions. After all, what's more important? Directors' yachts or the feelings of survivors and bereaved loved ones?

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