The HM Treasury Comprehensive Spending Review will:

Set UK Government departments’ resource budgets for the years 2021/22 to 2023/24 and capital budgets for the years 2021/22 until 2024/25, and devolved administrations’ block grants for the same period.” As such it is essential that the railway is sensibly funded, for capital improvements and for its day to day subsidy – the latter particularly important until there is a substantial return to rail post Covid-19.

Our submission has made 8 points, over 4 pages, which we mapped to the Treasury’s 6 priorities. It can be downloaded or viewed on-line. In it we set out reasons why spending on Rail is a sensible use of resources. In particular, we:
  • Highlighted that Rail can be a very efficient user of carbon; referring in particular to an International Energy Agency report:
“The much lower carbon intensity of rail (per passenger- or tonne-km) compared with most other modes of transport, means the rail sector already plays a key role in containing global GHG emissions. Looking forward, efficient electric motors and increasingly low-carbon power mixes could enable rail to contribute substantially to achieving zero-emission mobility from a well-to-wheel (WTW) perspective. “
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  • Say that there needed to be recognition that for many roles in many industries working from home has been shown to be practical, but that there is a going body of evidence that workplace interaction is also needed for some of the time and that therefore mass transit is still needed – we could easily see fewer, longer journeys, as those who do not need to be at their workplace every day choose to live further from their workplace. We conclude on this by emphasizing that the fare system needs to deliver value for money for these intermittent workplace attenders.
  • Reminded HM Treasury of their own National Infrastructure Commission’s observation:
There are two important truths about railways. First, they are a means to an end. We build them to support connectivity between people and places, and to enable economic growth. Second, railways are often necessary but rarely sufficient to drive economic growth in advanced economies.
  • That Rail will benefit from a stable and long term investment environment – a move away from the feast and famine approach that has contributed to problems like the cost overruns on the GWML Electrification.
  • Highlighted that Rail contributes to “Levelling Up” in two key ways:
  • It creates good jobs throughout the country, not just in hot spots
  • It allows people to travel to jobs away from their home, substantially increasing opportunity for individuals and the pool of staff for employers.


Download or view the Railfuture submission

Comprehensive Spending Review

International Energy Association report: The Future of Rail

National Infrastructure Commission: Rail Needs Assessment for the Midlands and the North - Interim report