Rachael Maskell MP today called on the Government to clarify when it will announce the new headquarters for Great British Railways. Calling York’s rail cluster and network ‘a real asset’ for Great British Railways, the MP for York Central pressed the Government’s Rail Minister in the House of Commons this morning during Transport Questions.
Leading the campaign for York to be the GBR HQ destination, Ms Maskell was backed up by the Shadow Rail Minister Tan Dhesi MP, who asked the Government Minister if the plan for Great British Railways had been ‘stopped in its tracks’ altogether.
Rachael Maskell MP says:“Rather than speculate on the future of the GBR HQ, today, I and Labour’s Shadow Rail Minister directly put a question to the Rail Minister as to when he will announce the future location for Great British Railways. I recognise the significant impact this announcement will have on York’s important rail sector, as leaders and innovators in advanced engineering and operations across the rail sector.
“The sector has invested significantly in bidding for the HQ to come to York, and all stakeholders were expecting an announcement by now, according to the Government’s timetable. I will continue to make representations to the Minister for the future of rail and the future of our city.”
Today’s exchange as recorded by Hansard
Rachael Maskell MP – York Central (Lab/Co-op):
York’s powerful rail cluster is driving innovation and modernisation across the rail network—a real asset to Great British Railways. Obviously, we are waiting to hear what is happening to the headquarters of GB Railways and the relocation outside of London, because the timetable has slipped. Will the Minister say when he is planning to announce where that new headquarters will be?
Kevin Foster MP – Rail Minister:
We will confirm our intentions around announcing the location of the headquarters shortly.
Tan Dhesi MP – Shadow Rail Minister:
To address the failure of privatisation and fragmentation, just last year the Secretary of State’s predecessor, the right hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps), announced the launch of Great British Railways. There were promotional videos with Michael Portillo and a nationwide campaign to host the new headquarters, with towns and cities investing enormous time, effort and money in their bids. There is a huge transition team, and millions of pounds of public money has already been spent. But now we hear that the whole thing is being scrapped and will not be included in the transport Bill. I appreciate that this Government are infamous for their U-turns and creating confusion, but can the Minister confirm: has Great British Railways been stopped in its tracks?