Railway investment boosts businesses in Britain

Railway investment has resulted in more than £3.2bn of work for businesses across Britain over the last year, according to data by Network Rail.

The rail improvement schemes undertaken by Network Rail included the redevelopments of King’s Cross, Reading and Birmingham New Street stations, Crossrail, the Thameslink Programme upgrade and several other projects to improve stations, lengthen platforms and build new railway. According to the Network Rail data, nearly one third of the £1.2bn spent in 2012-13 has benefited small and medium-sized businesses, sustaining over 90,000 full-time jobs nationally, in addition to the 34,000 workers that are directly employed by Network Rail.

Chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said: ‘Investing in infrastructure has a direct effect on the economy, creating jobs, and giving Britain the infrastructure we need to build a stronger economy and fairer society…. We have set out £100bn of investment in infrastructure over the next Parliament, including supporting the largest programme of investment in rail since the Victorian era. I’m very glad to see that Network Rail is doing their bit to drive sustainable and balanced economic growth across the UK.’

Simon Kirby, managing director of Network Rail Infrastructure Projects, said: ‘The rail industry is increasingly recognised as a key contributor to our national, economic and social well-being. Across Britain, investment in a bigger, better railway has provided a massive boost to hundreds of businesses of all shapes and sizes, supporting sustainable economic growth and jobs.’

The railway’s supply chain ranges from professional services to the construction industry, and rail investment helps sustain jobs across the UK’s many industrial sectors. In the last four years, Network Rail has generated GBP17.3bn of work for its supply chain, of which GBP6.2bn has been with small and medium-sized businesses – a 22 percent increase on the previous four years.

Simon Kirby said, ‘Network Rail will have a pivotal role to play in driving sustainable economic growth over the next five years, with plans to add 700 more trains each day between the key cities of the north, increase London’s rail capacity by 20%, build new lines to increase capacity in Scotland and electrify hundreds of miles of railway so cleaner, faster trains can run. By continuing to invest in rail, we are investing in the future of Britain,’

Between 2014 and 2019, the planned expenditure for enhancements and renewals is nearly £25bn, with 99 percent of this work to be undertaken by UK-based companies.