Chancellor must back investment in rail to support growth
By Daniel Hunter
The Government needs to provide further rail investment to support economic growth, according to a coalition of business and transport groups.
The British Chambers of Commerce, Campaign for Better Transport, The Centre for Cities and the Passenger Transport Executive Group have written to George Osborne to urge him to provide more investment for the UK’s rail network.
The call comes as the Government prepares to publish its rail investment plans up to 2019 next month. This ‘High Level Output Specification’ forms the basis for Network Rail regulation and rail franchise investment. The joint letter calls on the Chancellor to use this to promote and support continued investment in the rail network in order to help stimulate the economy, boost the labour market and reduce carbon emissions.
Adam Marshall, Director of Policy & External Affairs, British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Continued rail investment in the UK rail network is crucial to economic growth. Schemes like the Northern Hub and electrification of the existing lines are crucial alongside plans to build new a high speed rail network, and will bring faster, more efficient journeys that will help generate growth in the regions. Business supports long-term strategic investment to improve our rail infrastructure, rather than simply looking to short-term fixes. Only with good quality infrastructure in place will our businesses be able to thrive and deliver the growth we need to get the economy growing.”
Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Passenger and freight rail use is growing, even during the recession, and we need to see continued investment to maintain this. A thriving rail network will help the Government meet challenging carbon reduction targets and provide other environmental benefits, including better air quality and less noise pollution.”
Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive, Centre for Cities, said: “Improving rail links between and within the... continued on page two >