Ruth Kelly admits the commercial attractiveness of road over rail

<strong>When quizzed by John Redwood yesterday in the Commons debate on freight rail, the Secretary of State for Transport surprisingly conceded that road rather than rail activity was a much more viable option for businesses, and that commercial companies can only be expected to make this choice.</strong>

The question and answer, taken from Hansard, follow.

<strong>Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): </strong>Why did the nationalised Post Office transfer so much of its activity from rail freight to the roads? Does the Secretary of State have any plans that might encourage the railways to win that business back?

<strong>Ruth Kelly: </strong>The answer is a very simple one: it was a commercial decision for the Post Office. The fact of the matter is that rail freight is growing incredibly quickly; it has increased by about 49.5 per cent. over the past 10 years. We can do more??I would like more goods to be shifted by rail freight over the coming years??but ultimately these are decisions that commercial companies have to take for themselves.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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