24/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 14:00

£9bn railway investment to be announced by coalition

Category: England

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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BBC 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 24th Apr 2014]

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