The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has launched its ‘Show Us the Rail Enhancements’ (SURE) initiative, calling on the government to unveil planned enhancements immediately.
The national trade body for almost 300 businesses in the rail sector has launched the SURE initiative because it has become “increasingly concerned” at the lack of transparency from the Department for Transport (DfT) regarding just where its money will be spent for enhancements and upgrades for this financial year or for those ahead.
It comes after the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, unveiled his Spending Round, which set out budgets for 2020/21.
In his speech, Mr Javid said the government is committed to providing greener and cleaner travel options, with better buses and trains expected to connect the northern cities.
This promise included the Manchester to Leeds rail line, as outlined by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
However, despite these commitments, the RIA is concerned that the government has still not answered requests stretching out over two years to specify rail enhancements, which is why the SURE initiative has been launched.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the RIA, explained: “As the government launches its Spending Round for the coming year, and looks towards a three-year Spending Review next year, the rail industry desperately needs to know what rail enhancements are planned.
“We have been calling on the DfT since late 2017 to set out its plans and they have still not done so, despite the government’s guidance, published just a few months ago, that every government department should be open about its commercial procurement pipelines so that suppliers can plan for forthcoming projects.
“Rail suppliers clearly need visibility of upcoming rail upgrades in order to deliver effectively.
“Not publishing shovel-ready projects in the pipeline means investment is reduced, jobs are lower than they otherwise would be, and upgrades become more expensive as the industry takes time to gear up for individual schemes. So – as the government published its spending across a number of sectors – we are asking the government to follow its own advice, as set out by the Cabinet Office’s Outsourcing Playbook, and ‘Be SURE – Show Us the Rail Enhancements.'”