Confirmed Keynote: Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Transport
The Transport Secretary has said that making UK rail "fit for the future and affordable for passengers and taxpayers" is the "number one challenge" facing the department.
There’s no question that rail was the big winner for transport in the recent spending review – after allowing for rail net income, the rail capital budget will increase by 23% in cash terms over the next four years. Crossrail and the High Speed Rail programmes have been fully protected. However, rail is not off the hook. The Government still views UK rail as hugely costly and inefficient and wants reform. Sir Roy McNulty’s review in to these ‘unsustainable’ costs will be submitted to the Secretary of State at the end of March.
So as ever, the only constant for the railways is change. The structure of the whole industry; how franchises are let; and the way the train operators and Network Rail work are back under the microscope.
Our top level one-day event brings together all the big players to discuss these critical issues that will re-shape the future of the industry.
Key issues for debate:
- Can UK rail ever represent value for money?
- What can we learn from Europe about keeping rail costs down?
- Are there any barriers to robust rail regulation?
- What is the best structure for the UK rail industry?
- What are the right sort of incentives for operators?
- How can we encourage private investment in UK rail?