He urged the government to “move at a similar speed” when it comes to Crossrail 2 and to set out its response to the Independent Affordability Review, which is yet to report back, as soon as possible. In his speech, Philip Hammond said the government will continue to work with Transport for London on the funding and financing of the capital’s new north-south link. Nevertheless, Darren Caplan voiced RIA’s concern that ‘boom and bust’ rail funding, a pipeline of enhancements, electrification plans and match-funding for rolling stock research and development in CP6 were not addressed.
Elsewhere in the Budget, it was revealed that the sale of Network Rail’s commercial property business for £1.27 billion generated £170 million more than had been forecast in the Spring Statement.The Chancellor of the Exchequer also used the opportunity to confirm that, from April, large businesses will be able to invest up to 25 per cent of their apprenticeship levy to support apprentices in their supply chain while smaller businesses will halve their contributions from 10 per cent to 5 per cent.
The IMechE’s head of education policy, Peter Finegold, welcomed the change. He said: “Engineering has a long tradition of high quality apprenticeships. We hope these two measures announced in the Budget will contribute to continued progress to produce a generation of highly trained and adaptable technical experts.”The Budget also confirmed the 26-30 railcard, announced a few days beforehand, will offer a one-third discount for 26 to 30 year-olds in England, Scotland and Wales and a more streamlined one-click process for compensating passengers affected by rail delays will be introduced as a requirement for future rail franchises.
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