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RDG chair calls for rail investment to ensure economic surety post-Brexit

Investment in the rail industry is key to the future prosperity of the UK economy outside of the European Union, a leading rail industry figure has this week stated.

Speaking at the National Rail Conference in Birmingham yesterday, Chris Burchell, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and managing director of UK Trains at Arriva, described rail “the back bone of the UK economy” and called for investment in the sector to be continued to support the growth of the industry.

Analysis commissioned by the RDG recently found that there are 24,000 more people working for the railway compared to two years ago. This has seen the workforce grow by 11% in this period, compared to a 3% employment increase across the country.

In the future, experts forecast that more than 100,000 more opportunities in rail will be created in the next 10 years, and Burchell has stated that this demonstrates how rail is leading the way for long-term economic sustainability in the UK.

“We should be proud of our role as a major national employer,” he said. “Ours is a genuine growth industry for skills and jobs.

“Rail companies and their supply chain now employ 240,000 people, and as we invest to improve we will continue to secure more long-term jobs on the railway.”

He continued to say that investment in rail was improving Britain’s railway now and for the long-term, making journeys better and delivering for local communities, as he described this a “a massive opportunity for social and economic good”. 

“As we invest, we will create more long-term, secure jobs, and that means more opportunities, more taxpayers, more national wealth,” he added. “This is what the railway is offering the next generation of young people thinking about their future.”

The RDG chair also argued that in an uncertain time for the country, the railway can provide some surety and “be an anchor in stormy seas, and help deliver the prosperity we seek post-Brexit”.

“As the system expands, more jobs will be needed, and I am determined we will attract the brightest and best at every level,” he concluded. “The RDG is ready to play its part in leading and delivering a positive forward agenda for customers, communities and staff delivered by one industry team progressing one clear, forward plan.”

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Lutz   16/06/2017 at 19:22

I wonder if the figures quoted standing to inspection?

Andy Cook   17/06/2017 at 23:59

It's a great industry to invest and to work in. But the de-staffing of our trains to reduce costs seems at odds with Chris' honest approach that our railways need investment in its people to survive post Brexit?

Jimbo   19/06/2017 at 13:36

@Andy Cook - I think he is talking about investing in people who add value to the railways, rather than just keeping jobs that don't. The Railways are essential to support the economic growth of the country, but they are fundementally an overhead. Therefore, they need to run as cost effeciently as possible, and so should not have roles that are there just to provide jobs. If the railways (and country) prosper, then more jobs in more valueable roles are created. Onboard staff provide an economic benefit in ensuring everyone has tickets and providing help to people where needed. In cases where trains run between stations with ticket barriers, and the onboard staff sit at the back the whole trip, occasionally getting up to open & close the doors, the member of staff provides no economic benefit to the railway and so should be removed. Of course, that member of staff provides an economic (and political) benefit to the unions, which is the root cause of the current dispute.

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