1 July 2014
RMT Press Office
RAIL UNION RMT today slammed the Government after concerns about funding for a key rail modernisation scheme were raised by the Commons Select Transport Select Committee chair Louise Ellman who was quoted last night as saying that there were "all kinds of question marks" surrounding the Northern electrification programme.
The comments came after a number of senior rail bosses, and Whitehall's rail "supremo" Clare Moriarty, gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee at which they were forced to admit that the exact total cost of some major rail schemes, including the northern electrification, was still to be decided upon.
Despite promises from the Government that the scheme, which would lead to the long-awaited electrification of the route from Manchester to Leeds and York, would be completed by the end of 2018 it has now emerged that the costing process will not be completed until March next year and that if costs fall outside of budgets the entire programme will have to be reconsidered.
Rail bosses and officials were unable to give the Transport Select Committee an absolute and categorical assurance that the scheme will now go ahead as planned
Mick Cash, RMT acting general secretary said.
“This is shocking news. Only last week chancellor George Osborne was parading around talking about a High Speed link in the North and yet today we can't even get a cast iron assurance on the urgent electrification programme in the region that it was assumed would be completed in the next four years. This is further evidence of the continuing shambles on our railways which is down to a combination of sheer ministerial incompetence and the fragmentation of privatisation.
“Coming hot on the heels of the Government’s launch of a consultation that would destroy jobs, service and safety on both Northern Rail and Trans Pennine Express this is another hammer blow to rail services in the North and will provoke widespread anger amongst staff and the public alike. RMT will be using this latest betrayal as we step up our campaign to defend rail services and rail jobs.”