2015/2016 Spending Review and “Investing in Britain’s Future” Infrastructure Policy Paper
Many of you will have seen the news items on these announcements last week and I am pleased to be able to say the announcements are very positive for DDRF members – and the rail sector in the Derby and Derbyshire region.
Despite the ongoing pressures in the UK economy, the announcements made, particularly on infrastructure investment by the Rt Hon Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, confirm the continued commitment of the Coalition Government to invest in rail in the UK. A pipeline of publicly funded projects worth over £70 billion over the next parliament have been specifically identified for transport. Of these projects, a substantial number are for the rail network.
There is a clear statement on High Speed 2 (HS2) with a plan for trains travelling at up to 400 kilometres per hour bringing two-thirds of the population of northern England within two hours of the capital. The Government has set a funding envelope of £42.6 billion (in 2011 prices) for construction costs and £7.5 billion for rolling stock together with a strong cost control framework. This is excellent news for our region and the rail supply chain, especially as there will be a major HS2 station planned at Toton.
Additionally, the announcement confirms support for Network Rail to invest over £9 billion in major rail projects between 2014/15 and 2018/19 such as contributing to Crossrail, Thameslink improvements in London, stronger east to west links from Liverpool to Newcastle through the Northern hub, also through reopening the Bedford to Oxford line and electrifying the Great Western line and the Cardiff Valleys. Also significantly for the Derby and Derbyshire rail cluster there is the development of the “Electric Spine” between Yorkshire, the Midlands and the South.
All of this is good news for the Derby and Derbyshire rail cluster and the forum’s members. You can be assured that the Forum’s Executive will continue their efforts to identify and secure opportunities for members in the future.
C S Walton