Mr Redwood’s contribution to the statement on Rail Investment, 16 July

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): Over the past two years Network Rail has announced losses of £344 million on its very large derivatives book, so would not a better way of spending that money be to have a national programme to replace dangerous level crossings with bridges and underpasses—and could that start in Wokingham, please?

The Secretary of State for Transport (Justine Greening): My right hon. Friend raises an important point about passenger safety. In fact, the railways are one of the safest modes of travel we have. We have announced £65 million today to see continued improvement in level crossings. I would be very happy to meet him to hear his concerns about his local station, and I am sure that Network Rail, which takes the decisions, will also be interested to hear those concerns.

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  1. Alan Wheatley
    Posted July 17, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I note the Secretary of State had nothing to say with respect to the derivatives!

  2. Paul Withrington
    Posted August 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Government subsidy is counted as income. Hence the posted losses are a red herring. Over the past decade operating plus capital grant has averaged nearly £5 billion per year. On top of that bank loans now amount to £27 billion. Since those can never be repaid from the fare box it will be taxpayers who pick up the tab. To allow for that we add £1.8 billion to the £5 billion and get an annual subsidy of £6.8 billion. (£1.8 billion is 27 billion divided by e.g. 15 years, a guess at the time taken to accrue the loans). The £6.8 billion at is equivalent to:
    (1) £260 in taxes for every household in the land
    (2) £345,000 per track-mile
    (3) 20 pence per passenger-mile, or if tonnes and passengers are added , 14 pence per mile.

    That at a time when nearly half of us use a train less than once a year, and when the Motorway and Trunk Road system makes huge profits for the exchequer and when that system is used nearly three times as intensively, per lane-mile as is the railway per track-mile.

    Our evidence on the Future of Rail to the Transport Committee may interest:

  • 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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