§ Lord Davies of Oldham
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport (Alistair Darling) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
In the Future of Transport White Paper published in July, (Cm 6233, available from the House of Commons Library), we set out how the Government will respond to the factors that shape travel over the long term, and the resources being made available to support its strategy. The 2004 spending review settlement has provided the department with almost £15 billion to spend on the railways over its three year period. This is an increase of £1.9 billion over previously published plans, averaging at 15 per cent per year.
This Statement sets out how the Department for Transport intends to allocate this money on the railways until April 2009, which is the end of the current control period for rail.
Department for Transport (all figures £ million at cash prices) 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 Government support to franchises 1,066 1,501 1,353 1,417 Network Grant 1,843 2,883 2,832 2,651 Enhancements1 33 18 27 34 Freight 22 26 21 20 Other2 206 201 175 177 Total Government commitments to franchise support, Network Rail and other 3,170 4,629 4,408 4,299
Department for Transport (all figures £ million at cash prices) 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 CTRL 1,387 1,181 180 93 Total Rail 4,557 5,810 4,588 4,392 1 This reflects the enhancements that are directly funded on a "pay-as-you-go" basis by DfT/SRA, as opposed to those enhancements that are funded through Network Rail. 2 Expenditure on "Other" includes, inter alia, support for Merseyrail, rail pensions, the British Transport Police, research and project development, as well as running costs currently incurred by the SRA. 3 The above figures include funds which will be transferred to the Scottish Executive for rail spending in Scotland, details of which were provided by the Minister for Transport in his Written Ministerial Statement to the House on 27 January 2005. 4 The balance between network grant and government support to franchises is not precisely fixed and will be subject to ORR approval. The result of any ORR approval to any increased enhancement expenditure by Network Rail will be to increase its level of borrowing.
As can be seen, government commitments to the passenger railway are significantly higher after 2005–06, owing to increases in the network grant and support to franchises. This largely reflects trends in Network Rail income and the increased investment now going into the railway coupled with the significant decreases in the amount of new borrowing by Network Rail.
Funding for CTRL reflects the profile of our payments under the contracts with the CTRL promoter.
Our spending will enable the Government to deliver their commitments to complete a broad range of plans. These include the completion of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, and through Network Rail, the modernisation of the West Coast Main Line. We will also complete the Mark I rolling stock replacement programme which is bringing some 2,000 new vehicles on to the network.
The spending review outcome allows the department to support the regulator's interim review funding for Network Rail, (published in December 2003 and March 2004, available from the House of Commons Library), as shown in the following table:
Network Rail (all figures £ million at cash prices)2 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 Source of funds Network Grant 1,843 2,883 2,832 2,651 Access Charges 1,553 2,584 2,687 2,927 Other income 401 372 400 420 Total 3,797 5,839 5,919 5,998 Additional borrowing (repayment) 3,108 446 333 (13) Total source of funds 6,905 6,285 6,252 5,985 Application of funds Operations and Maintenance1 2,505 2,396 2,317 2,243 Interest on borrowing 1,075 1,179 1,201 1,211 Renewals 2,897 2,389 2,465 2,287 Enhancements 428 321 269 244
Network Rail (all figures £ million at cash prices)2 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 Total application of funds 6,905 6,285 6,252 5,985 1 Includes performance payments. 2 DfT analysis based on ORR Interim Review. 3 The balance between network grant and access charges is not precisely fixed and will be subject to ORR approval. The result of any ORR approval to any increased enhancement expenditure by Network Rail will be to increase its level of borrowing.
These figures show Network Rail progressing towards much greater financial stability. In particular, its need for additional borrowing will decline dramatically in 2006–2007 and continue to reduce until the end of the current control period. Network Rail is funded through the network grant, paid direct by government; access charges paid for use of the network by private train and freight operating companies; and other income from activities such as property and retail. In the current year it is forecast that 47 per cent of Network Rail funding will be from the public sector, and 53 per cent from the private sector (44 per cent from train operating companies and 9 per cent other income, including freight access charges).
Network Rail also has the capacity to borrow. As at September 2004 Network Rail reported a net debt of £14.3 billion. The interim review by the Rail Regulator, and supported by the Government's spending plans, ties Network Rail into achieving efficiency savings of some 30 per cent by 2009. Nevertheless, its plans for the four-year period in the above table include the replacement of 3,360 kilometres of rail, the renewal of 2,900 kilometres of sleepers and the reduction of train delay minutes by 26 per cent.
The Government's plans provide the best opportunity in a generation to achieve a stable and sustainable funding position for the national railway. In particular, they see rapid investment by Network Rail on infrastructure renewal and investment, delivering on a range of planned projects, improving reliability, and putting right decades of neglect on the basis of properly funded proposals.
Realising this stability in the medium-term will require careful control of costs, particularly over the coming spending review period. In addition to the 30 per cent efficiency savings, Network Rail will need to retain a 46WS focus first and foremost on the renewal and modernisation of the existing network and demonstrate its improved efficiency before looking at any wide-ranging enhancement programmes. Efficiencies will be required as much on the franchising side as from Network Rail—and the costs of rolling stock remain an important part of the equation.
But, the provisions of the Railways Bill currently passing through Parliament will enable the Government to fulfil their White Paper commitments, delivering better cost control and greater efficiency. The spending review settlement will enable the Government to tackle the decades of underinvestment and put the railways on a secure footing for the future.