The UK rail system contributes £36 billion to the UK economy annually.
New research from Oxford Economics published by the Railway Industry Association (RIA) this morning along with ten rail sector partners, shows that the economic value of the industry to the UK was significantly higher than previously thought.
It shows the sector contributes more to the UK than the food, drink and tobacco manufacturing and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
Rail provides around 600,000 jobs, which means it employs more people than the entire workforce of Birmingham, whie it generates £11bn annually in tax revenue.
The study also shows that rail generates £2.20 of income for every £1 spent on the network.
RIA said Government currently uses figures showing the UK rail sector employs 240,000 people and has an economic value of rail at £10.4bn – but these figures do not take into account the wider rail network, including metro services and catering and retail at stations.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: “The implications of this report are clear. The UK rail system should not be seen just as a vital mode of travel – connecting businesses, friends and family, and visitors to the UK – but also as a key industry for the economy in its own right. We urge the Government to consider and use the findings of this report when developing its Industrial Strategy agenda, negotiating trade deals with other countries once we have left the EU, and when promoting our world-class exports offering overseas generally.”
Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Rail is a low carbon and highly skilled industry. This new research highlights just how big a contribution it makes to the economy. There is a very strong case for the Government to build on this strength with a long-term investment strategy, including support for a long-term electrification programme, to promote rail as a pillar of the UK economy.”
- For much more on this, read RAIL 848, published on March 14, and available digitally from March 10 on Android and iPad.