£9bn railway investment to be announced by coalition
Published: 16th Jul 2012 02:03:13
Details of a £9bn investment in the railways in England and Wales will be announced later by senior ministers.
The schemes are set to include electrification of the Midland Main Line between Bedford and Sheffield.
Other rail improvements are expected to be unveiled for the Manchester area, south Wales and East Coast Main Line.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg are due to meet business leaders in the Midlands to brief them on the rail plans.
Their joint appearance comes after a weekend where Mr Cameron urged the coatliton not to descend into "division" and "navel-gazing" following a Tory revolt in the Commons against Lib-Dem plans for House of Lords reform.
BBC political correspondent Robin Brant said Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg would present a "united front" over the railway investment after trouble over Lords reform and this would be about trying to get back on track.
Their show of unity will also come after Conservative MP Graham Brady told the BBC on Sunday he believed the coalition was "very likely" to end before the 2015 general election.
Any building work on the rail projects would not start until at least 2014, as the announcement on rail investment covers the period 2014 to 2019.
It is set to include £5bn for the completion of current schemes, such as Crossrail and Thameslink and £4.2bn for new projects.
These are expected to include:
BBC transport correspondent Richard Westcott said a lot of the money would come from the taxpayer but there were also fears it could mean years of big fare rises.
Fares are already due to go up by 3% more than inflation in January and the same the year after, our correspondent added.
Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said the investment would not come on stream until after the next general election, when the railways needed improvements now.
Bob Crow, general secretary of transport union the RMT, said: "What we need is investment in rail today not yet another political promise of jam tomorrow."
Mr Cameron has already said it it essential differences between the two parties did not stop them working together in the national interest.
Divisions over Lords reform have led to speculation that the Lib Dems could withdraw their support for a re-drawing of Commons parliamentary boundaries in time for the next election.
Mr Cameron said there were policy areas where there were "profound areas of disagreement", such as Europe and welfare, and this was likely to translate into big divisions at the next election.
The coalition suffered its biggest rebellion since it came to power after 91 Conservative MPs opposed plans for a mainly elected House of Lords.
The government still won the vote on the principle of its proposed reforms to Parliament, with a majority of 338, but only after ministers ditched a vote to limit time for debating the bill.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. £9bn railway investment to be announced by coalition [Online] (Updated 16th Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1440667/9bn-railway-investment-to-be-announced-by-coalition [Accessed 29th Jul 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com