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Boost for rail contractors

The government is to spend £500,000 to help firms in the rail infrastructure supply chain win work at home and abroad.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the money would be invested through a newly-formed Rail Supply Group.

The group is headed by McLoughlin, business secretary Vince Cable and rail manufacturer Alstom UK president Terence Watson.

It will work on schemes including mentoring to help small and medium-sized businesses compete against more established firms.

The government plans to invest £38bn in UK rail infrastructure over the next five years.

McLoughlin said: “We are investing record amounts in building a world-class railway in this country, with major infrastructure schemes such as Crossrail, Thameslink and HS2.

“Other countries are also investing heavily in rail and metro systems, which also represent a massive opportunity for UK suppliers to generate jobs and growth at home.

“Through the Rail Supply Group we are determined to give them the support they need so they can respond to this global demand and secure long-term economic growth.”

Amey, Balfour Beatty and Costain are among the companies that helped set the group up.

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