The government is underestimating the value of the UK rail industry by more than £25bn according to a new report published by the Railway Industry Association (RIA).
The report said the UK’s rail system contributed £36bn annually to the UK economy and provided around 600,000 jobs. The industry also generates £11bn annually in tax revenue and £2.20 of income from every £1 spent on the network.
Government figures show the rail industry employs 240,000 people and has an economic value of £10.4bn. But the RIA said these figures did not take into account the wider rail network, including metro services and catering and retail at stations.
RIA chief executive Darren Caplan said: “The implications of this report are clear. The UK rail system should not be seen just as a vital mode of travel – connecting businesses, friends and family, and visitors to the UK – but also as a key industry for the economy in its own right.
“We urge the Government to consider and use the findings of this report when developing its Industrial Strategy agenda, negotiating trade deals with other countries once we have left the EU, and when promoting our world-class exports offering overseas generally.”
Campaign for Better Transport chief executive Stephen Joseph said there was now a very strong case for the government to develop a long-term investment strategy including support for electrification.
The report, the economic contribution of UK rail 2018, was carried out by Oxford Economics on behalf of the RIA and 10 rail sector partners.