£1 BILLION CUT FROM ENHANCEMENTS BUDGET

Funding announced for East West Rail but details unclear

£1 BILLION has been cut from Network Rail’s enhancements budget for Control Period 6 (2019-24) following the Spending Review on 25 November.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris confirmed the change in an answer to a written Parliamentary question on 30 November. The minister said the operations, maintenance and renewals budgets had not changed, but the spending review means ‘the comparable figure for the enhancements budget over the same period would now be £9.4 billion’. Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines told the House of Commons Transport Committee on 9 December that the organisation is still working through the impact of the cut. Referring to the pipeline approach for approving enhancements, Mr Haines said: ‘The way that the enhancement budget now works is that schemes are only committed to various gateways, so the difficult choices that we’ll now have to make are what schemes will be impacted by that. That work hasn’t yet been done. We haven’t had formal notification yet of the spend profile, but we are actively working with officials and I imagine that will go on until early in the New Year before we are able to say anything more specific.’

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