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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Rail industry sets out top priorities for upcoming Spring Statement

The Railway Industry Association (RIA), the voice of the UK rail supply community, has set out what it would like to see from the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, taking place this Wednesday (23 March 2022).

Setting out the key priorities, Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: “The Treasury’s Spring Statement comes at a critical time for the rail sector. With passengers clearly returning, now is the time for Government to support the railway industry and the economic growth, jobs and investment it provides both now and in the longer-term.

“This means supporting the sector in a number of ways. First, the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline needs to be published now, to provide the sector with the visibility of upcoming work it needs to plan and invest. Secondly, there should be no hiatus in infrastructure and rolling stock work over the coming years, as the industry restructures to Great British Railways.

“Efforts to decarbonise the railway need to be accelerated, with a step-change in electrification and hydrogen and battery trains delivered to help the Government meet its Net Zero 2050 deadline. There needs to be a programme to roll out digital signalling, with 60% of signalling units requiring urgent replacement in the next 15 years. And we need to support rail suppliers to export overseas, reducing barriers to trade by ensuring rail is included prominently in Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

“Rail has a bright future, and with the right Government policy it can help lead the UK’s economic recovery. As Chancellor Rishi Sunak makes his statement on Wednesday, the opportunity really is there to make rail a central part of a sustainable economic recovery.”

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