Monday, May 27, 2024
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HomeGovernment“Clear and credible plan needed for the railway”

“Clear and credible plan needed for the railway”

The Policy Director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA) has called for three tweaks to the draft Rail Reform Bill. Robert Cook gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee as part of its scrutiny process of the draft bill.

Speaking on behalf of the organisation which is the voice of the UK rail supply community with more than 360 members, he said: “Our members are a diverse bunch of companies, including not just the physical railway, but also the digital railway, major companies and 60 per cent which are SMEs.

“One thing they all have in common is that if they are to invest in skills and innovations to bring efficiencies, what they need to see is that there is a clear and credible plan that they genuinely believe will be delivered, they need to have a long-term visible pipeline of work and they need reasonable confidence that the rules of engagement for how they sell into the railway are stable with no nasty surprises.”

The Transport Committee is conducting pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Rail Reform Bill, which proposes the legislative measures needed to deliver the Government’s programme of rail reform, principally the creation of a new ‘integrated rail body’ which will have responsibility for franchising, infrastructure, operations and oversight of the rail industry in Great Britain.

Three tweaks Robert asked for in the bill are: “Firstly a commitment to a long-term strategy for rail that should be published, secondly strengthening some of the expectations around the Integrated Rail Body’s licence to support transparency and investment confidence, and the third area is that we think the Secretary of State open ended powers should be reconsidered, particularly the power of direction.”

Pre-legislative scrutiny involves a committee taking evidence on the merits of a draft Bill and reporting its conclusions and recommendations, to which the Government will respond. This does not alter the later process for passing the Bill once formally introduced to Parliament.

Click here to watch the full recording.

You can read RIA’s full submission to the Transport Select Committee on the draft Rail Reform Bill here.

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