FirstGroup said that until it was notified by the DfT last night, it had no indication there were any problems with the franchise process.
Until this point we had absolutely no indication that there were any issues with the franchise letting process and had received assurances from the DfT that its processes were robust and that it expected to sign the contract with FirstGroup soon.
We are extremely disappointed to learn this news and await the outcome of the DfT's inquiries.
The DfT has made it clear to us that we are in no way at fault, having followed the due process correctly.We submitted a strong bid, in good faith and in strict accordance with the DfT's terms.
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The charity says the increase is partly due to people calling for help sooner, instead of attempting to rescue themselves.