Perry: ‘sharpen your project-cost pencils and make every pound count’

Rail Minister Claire Perry has warned of three “big challenges” that rail needs to overcome, despite reiterating Government plans to invest in infrastructure.

Speaking at the New Civil Engineer’s UK Rail Conference in London on June 23, Perry said the challenges were: “significant financial constraints”; “finding enough people to make the rail renaissance happen”; and “fatalism, the great British disease”. 

Expanding on the latter, coined by HS2 Chairman Sir David Higgins, she said: “The symptoms of that disease, he wrote, are travelling delay, unreliability and poorly designed infrastructure.

“I believe that the cause of the fatalistic disease is that we have come to accept a sticking-plaster approach to our national infrastructure. Somewhere along the line, the birthplace of Brunel became the country of make-do-and-mend. Over the next five years, we have to cure this disease.”

  • ​For more on this story, read RAIL 778, published on July 8.
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