Following last week’s announcement (14 Jan) that the Transport budget for the North (TfN) is to be cut by 40%, the trade body for the UK rail supply community, RIA, and Northern Rail Industry Leaders (NRIL) has issued a response.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of RIA, said: “The uncertainty around Transport for the North’s budget, and investment level for schemes like Northern Powerhouse Rail, will not help rail suppliers who are looking to plan and prepare for future work to deliver.
“We crucially need to see the publication of the Integrated Rail Plan soon so members of the rail supply industry have the visibility they need to invest efficiently and effectively.
“In these difficult times we understand that there is a need to secure value for money for taxpayers, but we should not let rail investment be held up for what are, after all, long-term major projects.
“The Government’s ‘build back better’, green, levelling-up, agenda needs to include rail, which will also help support thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of GVA at a time when the UK economy desperately needs its industrial sectors to boost growth, in all parts of the country.”
Justin Moss and Mike Hulme, Co-Chairs of Northern Rail Industry Leaders (NRIL), said: “The North’s rail industry stands ready to deliver TransPennine Route Upgrade, HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, the digitalisation and decarbonisation of the network and much more, for the benefit of those who use the railway network.
“But these businesses do need Government to be clear about its policies and intentions, so it is vital the Integrated Rail Plan is published as swiftly as possible. The greater the visibility for rail businesses, the, even more, we can provide the region, in terms of efficient delivery, skills, innovation and investment.”