British public transport operator FirstGroup said on Tuesday it would lobby for continued public-private partnership in the UK rail industry and sought clarity on policy from any new government as the elections bring uncertainty for the group.

FirstGroup operates three main UK train operating companies - Avanti West Coast, Great Western Railway (GWR) and South Western Railway (SWR) - on behalf of the Department for Transport, carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers a day and collecting a management fee for running those services.

Its CEO Graham Sutherland told Reuters the private sector has a strong role to play in UK rail and would encourage the use of a "true public-private partnership" to grow and cut costs.

Britain will hold a national election on July 4, when the opposition Labour Party is largely expected to win according to polls.

Labour Party had said it planned to renationalise the country's rail network within five years without paying compensation to private operators.

"They (contracts) will play out over a number of financial years if a Labour government gets elected and if they implement that policy," Sutherland said.

"It brings some uncertainty beyond the next financial year," he said, saying the earliest of those main contracts end in May 2025 and the latest in October 2026.

The three contracts generated income of nearly 40 million pounds ($50.88 million) for FirstGroup last financial year.

Britain's train services were privatised in the 1990s but several operators have been renationalised in recent years, some of them losing their franchises after underperforming.

The current government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also proposed establishing a new Great British Railways (GBR) company but with a different role.

"Like any private business, we want clarity of policy. We want visibility over a number of years," Sutherland said.

FirstGroup on Tuesday raised its annual dividend by 45%, after reporting a jump in profit for the year to March.

($1 = 0.7861 pounds)

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans)