Consistency and visibility must be top priorities as Network Rail begins new funding cycle

1 April 2019


The Railway Industry Association (RIA), the national trade body for rail suppliers, has called for more consistency and visibility in workloads, as Network Rail begins a new five yearly funding cycle for rail infrastructure - known as Control Period 6.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: “Today is the first day of the new funding cycle for Network Rail, known as Control Period 6. It marks an exciting time for the industry, with a welcome £48 billion of funding for our rail network over the coming five years, including a significant increase in renewals spending.

“However, this new funding cycle also poses risks to the industry. In every Control Period since the system was set up, we have seen ‘boom and bust’ profiles in rail spending, which detrimentally impact businesses by limiting their ability to invest, create jobs and economic growth, increasing costs by up to 30% and threatening the ability of SMEs to survive.

“The new funding cycle starting this week will also see major rail improvement projects, known as enhancements, moved to a separate decision-making gateway process, which is currently providing little visibility of upcoming work. This not only goes against the Government’s own advice on procurement, set out by the Cabinet Office, but also has the knock-on effect of limiting businesses’ ability to plan and deliver new enhancement projects.

“As we begin the new funding period, we look forward to working with Government, Network Rail and industry to deliver an ambitious profile of activity to improve our network. But, to get the best out of this investment, we also urge the delivery of a consistent profile of rail infrastructure work for both renewals and enhancements – ultimately for the benefit of passengers, freight users and taxpayers.”

 

Notes to Editors

1. A survey of business leaders in the rail industry by independent polling company ComRes in October revealed the damage done by ‘boom and bust’ in rail funding. The poll of more than 120 leaders revealed that:

  • Virtually all suppliers, 99% of respondents, said there are peaks and troughs in rail funding to some degree, with two thirds saying the term ‘boom and bust’ best described the nature of Government spending in rail;
  • When it came to the impact on businesses, more than four in five respondents who saw peaks and troughs said that these had a negative impact on their organisations, with 61% having frozen recruitment as a result, 50% chose not to employ a staff member and 45% deciding not to invest funds in their organisation as a result; andNearly all – 96% - said the Government must do more to smooth out peaks and troughs in rail spending in future.
    Find out more here.

2. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community. We help to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products. We promote and represent our members’ interests to policy makers, clients and other stakeholders in the UK and overseas. RIA has 250+ companies in membership in a sector that contributes £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people—more than the workforce of Birmingham. It is also a growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight set to grow significantly too. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.

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