East Anglia: New Anglia LEP urges business leaders to back Great Eastern Rail Campaign

Mark Pendlington, chairman of the New Anglia LEP.

Mark Pendlington, chairman of the New Anglia LEP. - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is writing to more than 200 business leaders across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex to enlist their personal support for greater investment in the main London to Norwich rail line.

More than 650 rail passengers and businesses have already signed up to the LEP’s Great Eastern Rail Campaign at newanglia.co.uk/gerailcampaign and more than 60 companies have posted comments on why a quality service is vital to them.

The LEP, with the support of MPs, business organisations and rail leaders, is heading a taskforce which is due to report to the Government in November, setting out the strong economic case for investment in the line.

The chambers of commerce for Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk are among the groups which have endorsed the campaign.

However, to ensure that the case is as robust as possible, individual business leaders are being asked to add their signatures to the campaign, with the LEP sending letters to firms across all sectors from retail and tourism to manufacturing and financial services.

“We are grateful for the support we have already had for the campaign, but personal endorsements from those who suffer the real economic consequences of a poor train service is compelling and it gives us further solid evidence to take to Government in the Autumn,” said Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses across Suffolk are working harder than ever as we continue to see improvements in our local economy. That is why a successful campaign will rectify and reverse the years of under-investment in both infrastructure and rolling stock in East Anglia.

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“In view of the positive economic contribution our region makes to the UK a modern and fit for purpose service can only build upon that with further investment.

““Suffolk Chamber businesses identify three priorities for rail travel to London and other parts of the UK. There has to be reliability across all routes, good frequency of services and a travel experience that fully accommodates the needs of the business traveller.

“Of those three priorities, reliability is the most important and we are supporting the GEML rail campaign with the aim of achieving the service improvements that are so obviously needed.”

David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, added: “We have all seen the reports of problems on the Great Eastern Main Line so it is essential that businesses get behind the campaign and send a clear message to the Government about the need to provide realistic investment to improve the line itself and the rolling stock to run on it.

“Essex Chambers of Commerce fully support the Great Eastern Rail Campaign and urge all rail users to get behind it by going to the campaign website and registering their support.”

Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce said: “Results have shown that a strong business voice helps strengthen the case for investment to Government.

“The Norfolk Chamber and its partners have been lobbying for key rail improvements, but it is also important for individual businesses to be seen and heard. We would encourage business leaders to participate fully in this campaign as it make good businesses sense.”