The legislation within the Government’s Transport Bill which will enact the implementation of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail and formally create the new Great British Railways organisation has been deferred, Modern Railways understands.
According to a document issued by the Great British Railways Transition Team, seen by Modern Railways, the reason for the deferral is that the Government is prioritising emergency legislation in response to the cost of living and energy price situation. The document adds that further details on the timing of the planned legislation on rail reform and the Future of Transport ‘will need to be confirmed in light of this’, and legislation will be taken forward when Parliamentary time allows.
Modern Railways understands the Transport Bill may proceed, but without the rail reform elements, as there are other aspects of the Bill which may remain a Government priority. The Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech which opened the current Parliament on 10 May, and a consultation on the proposed legislation ran from 9 June to 4 August. However, unfolding events and the appointment of a new Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Transport and Rail Minister have changed Government priorities.
A Department for Transport spokesperson told Modern Railways the Parliamentary timetable was still to be confirmed. In an interview with Modern Railways in May, former Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had emphasised the importance of the legislation being passed in the current Parliamentary session if GBR was to acquire if powers in 2024 as planned.