Smart Transport

English rail system cost £17.4 billion last year, according to financial overview

Train station

England’s rail system cost £17.4 billion, including £5.1bn from taxpayers, according to the latest financial overview for 2019-20 from the National Audit Office (NAO).

Building on information published by the Office of Rail and Road, Network Rail and the audited accounts, the overview examines income and expenditure from the five financial years ending in March 2020.

The breakdown in expenditure shows £9.5bn as spent on operating rail passenger services; £7.1bn was spent on operating rail network infrastructure; and £0.9bn was spent on operating freight services and High Speed 1 (HS1).

Around 80% of income (£12bn) was earned through passenger fares. However, the NAO said these proportions then changed with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

The NAO said the arrangements for delivering rail services in England are complex, and distributed across the public and private sector.

This makes it difficult for Parliament and taxpayers to understand the overall financial position, to which the taxpayer is ultimately exposed, and the impact of government's choices.

A statement from the NAO said: “This financial overview aims to enhance clarity at a moment of significant industry change. 

“The anticipated recommendations from the Williams Rail Review (a root and branch review of Britain’s railway) are expected to address long-standing issues within the system and will be published in a context of heightened uncertainty about the future demand for rail.

“There are a number of significant challenges for the Government to address, including managing costs to taxpayers and rail's contribution to the government's net zero target for carbon emissions.”

The full NAO financial overview can be viewed in full here.

Watch now: Connecting Policy To Solutions Virtual Conference 2021

Smart Transport Conference returned on June 8th & 9th, to facilitate pivotal discussions on the future of transport. 

The UK’s most senior public and private sector transport leaders discussed the impact of Covid-19, achieving the Government’s decarbonisation ambitions, the need for more efficient living and better health, and much more.

Keynote speakers included: 

Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who spoke on BEIS's approach to decarbonising transport, particularly the electrification of the vehicle industry

Keith Williams, co-author of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, who spoke on rail’s role in integrated transport, decarbonisation and innovation.

Rachel Maclean, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Transport, who discussed the future of transport and its pivotal role in a ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic.

 

Conference speakers

Agenda topics

 

Watch now



Comment as guest


Login  /  Register

Comments

No comments have been made yet.

Related content