1. London

Rail franchise bids halted

The future of rail services in the south-east has been thrown into disarray after ministers called a halt to several franchise competitions.

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Civil servants suspended over franchise problems

A number of civil servants have been suspended over the rail franchise fiasco and two reviews have been ordered.

The first one will be overseen by Centrica Chief Dxecutive Sam Laidlaw and former PricewaterhouseCoopers Strategy Chairman Ed Smith, both Department for Transport (DfT) non-executive directors. It will look at the lessons to be learned from the DfT's handling of the flawed competition process.

The second review, undertaken by Eurostar chairman Richard Brown, will examine the wider DfT rail franchising programme and look in detail at whether changes are needed to the way risk is assessed. The bidding and evaluation processes will also be examined.

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