RMT CALLS ON GOVERNMENT AND NETWORK RAIL TO SPEED UP RAIL RENEWALS WORK TO EASE PRESSURE ON UK STEEL INDUSTRY
RAIL UNION RMT today called on the Government and Network Rail to work up an urgent plan to bring forward rail renewals work to help ease the pressure on the UK steel industry.
Rail infrastructure projects are an area where the Government, working with the publicly owned Network Rail, can make an immediate and decisive intervention in support of UK steel and there is no shortage of renewals work backlogged throughout the system. Renewals has been one area systematically hit by Government attacks on the NR budget through its agents the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).
Meanwhile, new RMT research shows that the spend by NR with TATA steel is actually in decline – just at the point when UK steel is under the most pressure.
In the financial year, 2014-15, Tata Steel UK Ltd supplied Network Rail with £98,022,077 worth of goods (accounting for 1.3% of Network Rail’s spend).
This has fallen by 14.6%, (from £114,865,267 or 2.1% of spend) in the year 2012-13.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Britain’s rail infrastructure is under massive pressure and is creaking under passenger demand and it would be a win-double for the British tax-payer to see the bringing forward of rail renewals work benefitting UK steel at this pivotal time for the industry.
“There is no excuse for the Government dragging its heels as they control the publicly-owned Network Rail and could intervene right now to make a decisive move that would have huge long-term benefits for the twin industries of rail and steel.
“RMT is deeply concerned that the NR spend with Tata Steel has tailed off and that needs to be addressed urgently and decisively by Government ministers from all departments involved.”