Suffolk: Lords to discuss region’s rail problems

Baroness Scott

Baroness Scott

The need for investment in the region’s rail services is set to be debated by members of the House of Lords later today.

Baroness Scott of Needham Market is to tell the Lords that this region is a “quiet powerhouse of economic growth” but has seen a woeful lack of investment in its rail infrastructure.

The Liberal Democrat peer, a former member of the Suffolk County Council’s executive committee, will be leading the debate in the wake of Tuesday’s chaos on the main line at Chelmsford.

She will tell the Lords: “Debates about connecting the English regions rarely focus on places like Norwich, Ipswich, Cambridge and Chelmsford.

“Nor is the contribution to the economy of London made by the tens of thousands who commute from the south of the region into London each day fully recognised.”

Baroness Scott added that it seemed as if this region was ignored by governments because it was seen as part of the country that was not “a problem” for them.

She added: “When they talk about helping regional centres they look at places like Bradford or Leeds, not Norwich, Ipswich or Colchester.

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“But this is only one of two regions that makes a net contribution to the economy of Britain, and it deserves to have more help with things like major rail investment.”

The debate will be answered by new transport minister Baroness Susan Kramer – and her LibDem colleague hopes she will be able to offer a positive message to the region’s travellers.

Baroness Scott is also planning to lead House of Lords calls for more help for rural bus services – a need highlighted by the withdrawal of First Eastern Counties services to Stowupland as the company steps up its “bus wars” with Ipswich buses on routes to the Chantry area of the county town.