Labour plans biggest overhaul of railways in the south-west for forty years

_74037061_1.line.jpgLabour announces £2.5bn for much-needed rail improvements in the South West
  • Investment at Dawlish, signalling upgrades and electrification will deliver faster more resilient journeys.
  • Investment paves the way for a new Dawlish Avoidance Line. 

As part of its industrial strategy to build a 21st century economy for the many, not the few, Labour will today commit to funding the major modernisation and electrification of railways across the South-West.

The next Labour government will commit £2.5bn from its National Transformation Fund to improve the resilience of lines still affected by the 2014 storms at Dawlish, and provide faster, modernised services from London right to the heart of Cornwall, more than forty years after the last major investment in the service.

On recommendations from the Peninsula Rail Taskforce, backed by local authorities across the South-West, the improved rail services will deliver dramatically faster journey times from London to major cities like Plymouth and Exeter, unlocking a potential £7.2bn boost to the South West economy.

And Labour will deliver the £15m gap funding needed to complete Plymouth Station improvements, helping deliver additional investment from major local funders to improve the public realm at the heart of the city.

But under the Tories, planned transport investment is just £212 per head, compared to over £1,900 for London. London is set to receive more than half of all England’s planned transport investment. Labour will reverse years of Tory underinvestment in transport for the South-West of England.

Alongside the commitment to invest, Labour will help ensure the prosperity of Cornwall, Somerset and Devon by implementing a bold industrial strategy that sets national missions to address societal challenges like climate change and automation.

With Cornwall hosting one of the fastest-growing digital economies in the country, digital turnover growing 154% in just four years, the potential for prosperity right across the South-West is clear – if the government is prepared to commit to the support the region’s high-potential business need to succeed.

A Labour government will use all policy levers available to galvanise business to meet these challenges including effective use of public procurement, support for strategic sectors and investment in skills, R&D and infrastructure like modern rail services and superfast broadband.

Labour’s industrial strategy for growth will ensure prosperity in every corner of the country for the many not the few. 

Sue Dann, Labour’s candidate in Plymouth Moor View said:

“Labour’s £2.5bn railway upgrade package shows that the Labour Party understands the priority needs of the South West of England and will make the money available to fund those priorities without delay.

“The South West gets a raw deal from the Conservatives in London. We get just one seventh of the money London gets. I don’t accept the poor deal the Tories give us and that’s why I have been campaigning for additional rail upgrades for Plymouth.

As a region we have had enough of the empty pledges from the Conservatives. Labour is the only party in this election with a costed plan for the railway upgrades our region needs. The Tories have offered us nothing but press releases and broken promises.” 

Luke Pollard Labour’s candidate in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport said:

“A decent railway is one of Plymouth’s top priorities. We need better road, rail, sea and air connections and today’s announcement paves the way for the faster and more resilient rail journeys our city needs. Better connectivity means more jobs and that’s why improving our transport links has been such a key part of Labour’s campaign.”

If Labour wins the election this investment would meet the key regional demands of improved speed, comfort and resilience on our railway. Now that London is listening to Plymouth we can start to focus on the longer-term needs of the railway such as the Dawlish Avoiding Line.” 

Jeremy Corbyn speaking today said:

“This is a major investment in a part of our country that has been held back by the Tories for too long. Unlike the Tories we’ll deliver the investment funding the South West needs to deliver decent, secure jobs and living standards.

“The next Labour government will make sure that every area, every region can reach its full potential through investment in the foundations of a modern economy that works for the many, not the few.” 

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