The government has appeared to indicate it will not go ahead with Labour’s plans for further electrification of the UK’s railway system in the near future.
Earl Attlee, for ministers, said at question time in the Lords that there were “problems” about spending money on electrifying lines given the state of the public finances.
Lord Adonis, who was transport secretary until the coalition took power, had set out £1bn plans last year for electrifying lines between London and Swansea and between Liverpool and Manchester.
Labour’s Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Lord Attlee today: “Do you agree that the maintenance of the commitment to electrify large parts of the railway system as announced by Lord Adonis and the commitment to build High Speed 2 are both very sustainable and green forms of transport which the new government will follow?”
Lord Attlee replied: “We are committed to High Speed 2 but you will understand the problems about expenditure on electrification in the current economic climate.”
The coalition agreement, however, expresses “support” for “further electrification of the rail network”.
Lord Attlee said that the government was seeking to implement transport savings of £682M in 2010/11.
He said these would include “£112M from direct departmental spend, £100M from Network Rail, £309M from local government grants, a proposed reduction of £108M from the Transport for London grant, and the deferral of £54M from lower priority schemes”.