UK rail, via Istock

New Transport Secretary called upon to reduce industry uncertainty

The new Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is set to talk at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, where she is set to outline her ambitions to deliver better public transport services. In anticipation of this speech the Railway Industry Association (RIA), is calling upon the Government to provide more certainty on rail restructuring, enhancements, major projects, and long-term funding plans.

The need for certainty around these topics will help to ensure that requisite funding for projects can be met to maximise the investments. This will, in turn, garner the industry more economic growth in the current post-pandemic climate.

RIA outlined the areas for Government help:

  • The confirmation of Great British Railways restructuring must be clear as the industry needs to understand plans for how and when the new Government intends to establish GBR. Though the new Transport Secretary and Rail Minister will need time to bed into their new roles, existing ambiguity will risk causing a hiatus in the rail network.
  • The Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline (RNEP) must be published, as there has currently been almost a three year wait since the last iteration has been released to the public, despite the previous Government pledge to publish this pipeline of work every year.
  • There must be a confirmed timeline and scope for major rail projects as the uncertainty and speculation that exists around projects such as HS2, East West Rail and Northern Powerhouse Rail damages confidence and jeopardises investment.
  • Funding for Control Period 7 (CP7) must be confirmed as the industry requires certainty on funding to attract long-term investment that will see the sector in a healthy state until the end of the decade.

Commenting, RIA’s Chief Executive Darren Caplan said:

“UK rail is well positioned to support the Government in its mission to boost economic growth, with the industry contributing £43bn of GVA, supporting 710,000 jobs, providing £14bn in tax revenues to the Treasury, and generating £2.50 in the wider economy for every pound spent on the railway sector.

“But rail’s potential to deliver economic growth will be hampered by uncertainty and ambiguity if we do not get confirmation of the Government’s plans.

“As the new Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan prepares to address the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, we urge her and her colleagues in Government to provide the clarity the railway industry needs on Great British Railways, the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline, major projects, and long-term funding.

“By doing so, the Government would not only help to unleash the potential of rail to help drive economic growth, it would also provide a boost to connectivity and capacity, which the country is going to need in future if it is to link and level up communities across the UK.”

To achieve a healthy and secured rail sector, the new Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan must remove any uncertainties on existing projects and outline a clear vision for the future.

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