The voice of the UK rail supply community RIA (Rail Industry Association) has released manifestos for the regions of London & South East, Midlands, Northern, Scotland and Wales in preparation for the much-anticipated devolved national and regional elections next month.
The manifestos highlight the ‘key asks’ the rail industry would like to see from political decision makers.
The North of England manifesto has been produced jointly with Northern Rail Industry Leaders (NRIL).
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “The upcoming devolved national and regional elections offer the opportunity for candidates, across the political spectrum and in all parts of the UK, to affirm their commitment to a strong, vibrant rail sector that can lead the economic revival following coronavirus.
"Rail is green. It’s a catalyst for economic growth and its geographically spread across the country, making it a prime candidate for continued investment, at such a critical time for the economy.
“The Railway Industry Association has published five manifestos today setting out what rail businesses need from policy makers in order to best support the economy and jobs. Whether in Scotland, the North, Midlands, London and the South East or Wales & Western, the rail industry needs a consistent and visible profile of work, support to decarbonise and digitalise the network, commitments to major projects and backing to develop innovation and skills. We look forward to working with all parties, both before and after the elections, to ensure our railways continue to act as the economic backbone of the country.”
Co-chairs of the Northern Rail Industry Leaders (NRIL), Justin Moss and Mike Hulme, said: “We are pleased to publish this joint manifesto for rail in the North with RIA. The North’s rail supply industry is crucial to the regional and national economy and helping to connect communities across the country. It is also a catalyst for green skilled jobs, economic growth and investment.
“As an industry we are at a pivotal moment, with many Northern businesses facing real uncertainty coming out of the pandemic over the future pipeline of work – most notably around major projects such as HS2 Eastern Leg and Northern Powerhouse Rail. This uncertainty must be addressed urgently by our national and local political leaders. The industry also requires support to continue to decarbonise, help drive investment in local skills and ensure innovation is at the heart of the future plans for rail.
“The North’s next political leaders will have a vital role to play in helping drive the region’s rail network forward. We stand ready to work with all candidates to help the North’s rail industry to spur a recovery from Coronavirus and build a better, cleaner network for future generation.
The elections will be held on Thursday May 6, 2021 with about 48 million people who can vote to elect almost 5,000 to positions of power. It will be the very first elections since the pandemic making it a very important one as the country and its industries look for ways to recover from Covid-19. With it being one of the most hard pressed issues.