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9 days until 'summer of uncertainty', RIA warns

There are only 9 days left until Parliament goes into recess, and the Railway Industry Association (RIA) is insisting the UK government publishes a number of rail investment strategies, to avoid a ‘Summer of Uncertainty’ for rail businesses.

The RIA has over 300 companies in membership within a sector that funds £36b in economic growth and £11b in tax revenues every year, whilst employing 600,000 people – more than the total workforce in Birmingham. Therefore, ambiguity and concerns have steadily increased in the rail industry, as the House of Commons prepares itself for the summer recess on July 22.

The government has 3 key strategies that are crucial for providing rail businesses peace of mind in the coming months:

  • The Integrated Rail Plan for the Midlands and North, which gives an update on Government plans for projects such as HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Rail Hub.
  • The Transport Decarbonation Plan, which sets out how the government plans to achieve a Net Zero transport sector by 2050.
  • The Rail Enhancements Pipeline, which consists of a list of upcoming rail upgrades, which have not been updated in over 630 days.

Chief Executive of the RIA, Darren Caplan, said:

“The rail industry greatly appreciates the support the Government has given over the past 18 months, allowing our railways to move key workers and resources around the UK, and support the economy, during the pandemic.”

“However, as we emerge from pandemic restrictions, rail businesses currently have little visibility of the Government’s investment plans, impacting their ability to plan and invest in skills and capability for the future.”

“The Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline, has not been published for more than 630 days. Similarly, we are yet to see the Integrated Rail Plan or the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, both of which are vital in setting out Government’s priorities for rail projects across the UK.”

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