The rail industry should be a prominent part of trade negotiations in preparation for Brexit, according to the Rail Industry Association (RIA).
This is in response to the appointment of George Hollingbery MP as the new Minister for Trade and Investment, who has been advised by the RIA to ensure rail industry is at the forefront of future trade policy and negotiations.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Association, believes this is vital considering the importance of the rail sector to the UK economy; he pointed to research by Oxford Economics this year that revealed the UK rail industry exports approximately £800 million every year, provides 600,000 jobs and is responsible for a mammoth £36 billion GVA.
In this context, ensuring the success of the rail industry’s future is vital and Mr Caplan has urged the new Minister to “consider the rail industry a key ally” when negotiating deals for Britain’s post-EU future.
He said: “The Railway Industry Association welcomes George Hollingbery MP to the role of Trade Minister at this important time for UK trade. We urge him to consider the rail industry a key ally – on a par with other transport sectors like automotive and aerospace – as he begins to seek trade deals post-Brexit and help the UK’s exports efforts in the months and years ahead.”
The new Trade Minister has been appointed because Greg Hands has resigned from the government so he can oppose expansion of Heathrow Airport.
Although approved by the government, the decision whether or not to build the third runway is subject to a vote in Parliament.
As part of his General Election pledge to his constituency last year, Mr Hands opposed the proposed runway and has resigned from his position to honour this pledge to his constituents in Chelsea and Fulham.
The RIA placed on record their thanks to Mr Hands “for all his work with the rail supply sector.”