Rail industry is concerned that no accelerated rail infrastructure projects were mentioned by the Chancellor
Although today’s plan set out a strong strategy for job retention, many in the railway industry will be disappointed that Chancellor Rishi Sunak didn’t mention anything about new rail infrastructure in his speech.
The Government has said it is seeking to ‘build build build’ and has recently spoken of an ‘infrastructure revolution’, calling publicly for shovel-ready projects to help reboot a green economy post-Coronavirus.
Yet, we are concerned that no accelerated rail infrastructure projects were mentioned today, such as those in the Government’s own list of 58 rail enhancement schemes directly within its power to speed up.
The Chancellor specifically unveiled a “Plan for Jobs” – yet in the current circumstances few sectors can generate jobs and GVA as quickly as rail.
UK rail has kept going throughout lockdown, enabled key workers to get to workplaces, and has shown it can continue to safely maintain and build track and train – even in difficult lockdown conditions – essential to the UK’s connectivity and levelling-up agenda.
So whilst we and rail supply businesses will welcome the Chancellor’s job retention measures, we will continue to campaign for the Treasury to ‘Speed Up Rail Enhancements’, benefiting not just the railway industry, but also UK plc, its communities and long-term connectivity in the difficult months ahead.