RIA responds to Spring Budget
Responding to today’s Spring Budget, RIA Chief Executive, Darren Caplan, said:
“While the Chancellor steered clear of anything specifically on national rail in the Spring Budget, there were some potentially positive announcements which could mean good news for Railway Industry Association members. For example, on tax changes, incentives for innovation and levelling up – including funding for 12 new Investment Zones, a second round of City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements and more money for Levelling Up Partnerships.
“However, it is disappointing there has been little progress on RIA’s six key asks of the Government, which we submitted prior to the Budget. On the day the DfT published figures showing passenger numbers getting back to over 100% of pre-Covid levels last month, this Budget was silent on providing investment certainty and transparency in rail, whether track, train, retail or any other element of the supply chain. And we are still anticipating the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP), which remains unpublished almost three and a half years since a Government commitment was made to report annually.
“Also of concern, we are no further forward on measures to support rail decarbonisation, needed to help the Government reach Net Zero. And over recent days the future of transformational major rail projects have become more uncertain, with, for example, a two-year delay announced for delivering the HS2 northern leg.
“So whilst RIA does cautiously welcome some of the measures in the Budget, we urge the Government not to lose sight of the immense value of rail to generating economic growth, supporting decarbonisation and connecting communities. We need visible and certain investment decisions by Government now to maximise these benefits both today and in the future.”