UK: The Railway Industry Association has published its submission to the government’s spending review, in which it calls for:
- immediate publication of the Williams Review and the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline, to give certainty to the industry on structure and infrastructure plans;
- a rolling stock summit, bringing together key industry players to develop a long term plan which would include smoothing the volatility of the market, digitalisation, decarbonisation and innovation;
- Control Period-style long-term funding settlements for devolved transport bodies.
‘The government’s spending review offers an opportunity to place rail at the heart of the ‘Build Back Better’ agenda’, said RIA Chief Executive Darren Caplan on October 13. ’To do so the sector needs clarity and certainty on how the industry will change over the coming years, and future investment plans. We are yet to see the much awaited Williams Review white paper, and it has now been a year since the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline was last updated, giving rail businesses visibility of what upgrade projects are being planned. Rail can support the UK’s economic recovery, but to do so it needs clear direction from government.
‘The supply chain does have capacity which is not currently being used, so our sector is offering a solution to the government not a problem. If the government acts urgently on this, the results will be seen for the next five years, at a time when rebooting UK plc, its economy and transport infrastructure connectivity, will be of the highest priority.’