RIA Sets Out Six Key Actions for UK Government Ahead of Spending Review

In its submission to the Spending Review, scheduled for publication next week, the Railway Industry Association (RIA) has set out six key actions for UK Government.

This comes as the Government announces its Net Zero Strategy, and amidst uncertainty whether HS2’s Eastern Leg will go ahead.

RIA Chief Executive Darren Caplan and Chairman David Tonkin outside the Treasury
RIA Chief Executive Darren Caplan and Chairman David Tonkin outside the Treasury

Highlighting the role that railways can play in driving economic growth and providing greener transport right across the UK, the RIA’s submission discussed the importance of providing assurance of funding for upcoming rail projects.

It also laid out supply chain concerns regarding the lack of decision-making due to the pandemic, and as the industry undergoes major changes with the transition to Great British Railways (GBR).

The RIA’s six key actions for the UK government are to:

  • Commit to Control Period 7 (CP7) funding at least equal to that of CP6
  • Spend the enhancements budget’s remaining 9.4 billion GBP (11.14bn euros | 12.97bn USD) before March 2024, when CP6 comes to an end
  • Deliver on the major projects it committed to
  • Follow through on the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Net Zero Strategy promises to launch the rolling programme of rail electrification and fleet orders of hydrogen and battery trains
  • Ensure a steady increase of digital signal work, including funding Network Rail’s long-term deployment plan for signalling and TfL and HS1’s digital signalling investment
  • Guarantee rail as a key part of the UK’s plans for global trade by supporting rail exporters that are looking to market products and services abroad
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said:

“The railways stand ready to help drive the UK's recovery, by boosting economic growth, supporting skilled jobs and investment in every region of the country, providing clean transport for millions of people and boosting exports around the world.

“However, our members regularly tell us that uncertainty over upcoming projects and a lack of work pipeline visibility add costs and time to projects. For SMEs, this can even result in them going out of business.

“That’s why we are urging the Government not to delay major decisions and to begin long-term investment plans now. We must not let the experience of the last 18 months affect the investment needed to support railway infrastructure and rolling stock decisions over the next 30 years.

“On major schemes, we are simply calling for the Government to deliver what it has promised. This includes building HS2 in full alongside Northern Powerhouse Rail, Transpennine Route Upgrade, East West Rail, the Midlands Rail Hub and others. It should not be 'either-or' when it comes to these schemes.

“So, we ask the Government to provide greater certainty to rail businesses to continue to invest in the UK, if it wants the railway industry to help build back better, build back greener, help its levelling-up agenda and boost Global Britain with higher rail exports.”

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