What a bizarre comment re. drivers.
The reason for the cancellations is that the franchisee has chosen not to recruit and train enough drivers to run the service.
They do this because it is cheaper (read : more profits for shareholders) than cancelling trains. Rest assured that if it was not the case, they would have enough of them.
Driver turnover is extremely low and very predicable. Hardly any leave until retirement. It is therefore extremely easy to plan to have enough. The key word is 'plan' because it takes at least a year to get a new starter up and running.
Even after years of fiddling with privatisation, our government still cannot put together a franchise agreement which makes railway companies employ enough staff to run a service. It's depressing and incredibly annoying at the same time.
In this particular case, it is probably not the fault of govia, but of First. They realised some time ago they weren't going to get the new franchise and just didn't bother to recruit any drivers to cover natural wastage. Such an obvious problem but for reasons beyond the wit of man (apparently) completely impossible for the govt to remedy.
Don't worry though. Senior management and shareholders will still have their bonuses and dividends (probably slightly larger than if they actually tried to run a service). And ex-ministers and senior civil servants will get their 'consultancies'...