East Anglia: MPs take plea for rail investment to Chancellor
PUBLISHED: 19:06 30 October 2013 | UPDATED: 19:06 30 October 2013
MPs seeking major new investment on the region’s main line took their bid for extra money to Chancellor George Osborne yesterday.
And although they did not get any cast iron promises of new money, they did get an assurance that their bid would get serious consideration in the next round of government spending announcements.
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, Witham MP Priti Patel and Norwich MP Chloe Smith took the bid for major investment to allow more and faster trains on the line from Norwich and Ipswich to London.
Mr Gummer said: “These things take time. We did not get a firm offer of new money, but the Chancellor heard our case and has taken on board the need to improve investment in the line.
“I am cautiously optimistic about the future – but we need to keep up the pressure.”
He felt frustrated that there had not been a significant campaign to boost the line until the current government took power.
“We are fighting very hard now, and we have got a good dialogue with the current management at Network Rail, but we started campaigning behind some of the regions and we are still catching up.”
Ms Patel, who leads the Essex rail campaign, said: “The Chancellor was fully engaged. I think it is fair to say he has heard us.
“He understands the economics of the argument we are making and I sense he sees the return on investment for government, should the government choose to invest over the next 10 years in our rail line.”
She said that the region was growing and there were homes due to be built all along that line.
But said there were steps and processes that had to be followed including the control periods, which are the different spending periods planned by Network Rail and the technical case had to be mastered and put together.