RIA Response to the King's Speech

The Government has today included a Draft Rail Reform Bill in the King’s Speech which sets out some of the key pillars of industry reform including the creation of Great British Railways. A Parliamentary committee will oversee pre-legislative scrutiny of the provisions of the Bill.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: “We welcome the news that this Draft Bill has been included in the King’s Speech. The Railway Industry Association and 70 of our members campaigned on this earlier this year, writing to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, about the need to take the establishment of Great British Railways forward, to provide some certainty about rail restructure and avoid hiatus in decision-making.

“And so whilst we would have wanted a full Transport Bill providing for GBR, today’s inclusion of a Draft Bill does seem to be progress and a statement of Government intent to reform rail, ultimately bringing track and train closer together, and developing a “guiding mind” and a long-term plan for the railways. We urge the Government to begin the pre-legislative scrutiny process without delay. At a time when passenger numbers and revenues are encouragingly growing back to pre Covid levels, the Government now needs to push on with any and all measures which help build a vibrant, world-class railway for the future, and avoids any hint of so-called managed decline when it comes to the future of UK rail.” 

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