RIA has published its submission to the Spending Review, the process by which Government sets its departmental budgets over the coming three years.
In the submission, RIA sets out six actions that the Government should take as we emerge from the pandemic. These will help the industry build operate, maintain and upgrade our network, in an efficient way and at good value for the UK taxpayer. These are:
Action 1: Commit to at least an equal level of funding for Control Period 7 (CP7) than that provided in CP6, acknowledging that rail will require Government support to return to pre-pandemic growth. A Government that supports the rail industry will see investment returned, as rail funding catalyses economic growth, jobs and investment: in the most recent analysis, for every £1 spent in rail, £2.50 is generated in the wider economy. Also, rail investment will need to be delivered consistently over the full term of the Control Period to avoid ‘boom and bust’ cycles in the supply chain
Action 2: RIA asks that the remaining £9.4bn of the enhancements budget be spent by the end of CP6, March 2024, to avoid funding for these schemes to be lost or delayed significantly, which would in effect mean a reduction of budget.
Action 3: Guarantee funding for previously-committed to major projects – in order to succeed in levelling up the UK. This means delivering HS2 in full (including the Eastern Leg) , Northern Powerhouse Rail, Transpennine Route Upgrade, East West Rail and Midlands Rail Hub.
Action 4: Launch the rolling programme of rail electrification and fleet orders of hydrogen and battery trains promised in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, and set out in the Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy. The decarbonisation of the rail network needs to take place as soon as possible to maximise carbon reduction, enable cost-effective delivery and cut costs in the long-term.
Action 5: Fund Network Rail’s Long-term Deployment Plan for digital signalling, support TfL and HS1’s digital signalling investment, and ensure a steady ramping up of digital signalling work. Commit to rolling out digital technologies, such as e-ticketing, across rail and tram networks in every region of the UK.
Action 6: Support rail exporters seeking to market products and services overseas and ensure rail is a key part our plans for global trade opportunities, including restoring funding for SMEs in the industry to attend overseas trade shows and pursue export opportunities, which ended with the closure of the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP).
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© Railway Industry Association Great Britain 2021