Cancelling electrification of the Midland Main Line was down to saving money, a report released by the National Audit Office confirmed this morning.
Chris Hobson, director of policy at East Midlands Chamber, said: “Today’s report only underlines what we’ve said all along, that when it comes to infrastructure investment successive Governments have viewed the East Midlands as being politically expendable, consciously placing us at the back of the pack. “According to the Government’s own figures, the East Midlands receives only 60 per cent of the average per capita investment in infrastructure compared with the rest of the country. This is something that we are lobbying to redress, calling for 100 per cent average per capita by 2020. “Last summer Transport Secretary Chris Grayling cancelled the planned and fully-budgeted £1bn electrification of the Midland Main Line and told us we would get a better service from heavier, slower, more expensive, dirtier and more damaging to the rail network bi-mode trains, which it’s now confirmed didn’t even exist when Mr Grayling made his announcement. “Moreover, the short-term savings will result in longer-terms costs, associated with maintenance, greater pollution and the lost economic benefits that a speedier, more reliable service with enhanced capacity can bring.” Mr Hobson added: “This short-termism brought on by political expediency has to end. The East Midlands is the biggest contributor to the national economy outside of the Southeast and we urge Government to reconfirm electrification of the Midland Main Line, all the way to north of Sheffield where it will eventually link up with HS2. “We need to show the rest of the world that as a region we are most definitely open for business and ready to trade on global markets in a post-Brexit economy.”