In October 2017, the Railway Industry Association commissioned Oxford Economics to conduct independent research on the economic contribution of the UK rail industry. The subsequent report showed that the value of rail to the UK is greater than previously thought. The Government is currently using figures that show UK rail employs 240,000 and has an economic value of £10.4bn, however, these figures refer only to the supply sector and do not take into account the wider rail network, including metro services, catering and retail. The findings of the Oxford Economics report show the rail network; contributes over £36bn annually to the UK economy, provides around 600,000 jobs and generates £11bn annually in tax revenue.
To fully appreciate the magnitude of the rail network contribution, it was outlined that the industry employs more people than the entire workforce of Birmingham; has a GVA greater than that of the food, drink and tobacco manufacturing and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries; generates £2.20 of income from every £1 spent on the network; for every job in the UK railway system, there are a further 2 jobs created in the supply sector. These figures show an undeniably strong and healthy industry that is delivering for the UK economy.