A new supply chain forum for the rail industry has been unveiled by business secretary Vince Cable and transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
The aim of the Rail Supply Chain Forum is to ensure that the government is working in partnership with industry so British businesses are better able to win work both in the UK and abroad, according to Cable.
The forum was announced during a visit to Hitachi’s new £82 million manufacturing facility at Newton Aycliffe, in County Durham, home of the new Intercity Express Trains.
Cable said: “Hitachi’s decision to base its European factory in Newton Aycliffe shows the UK is an attractive place for international businesses to invest and grow. It also underlines the industrial benefits of the rail revolutions now taking place in the UK. As well as attracting inward investment, we also need to develop a strong, co-ordinated and competitive supply chain here which complements and supports other industry initiatives.”
The establishment of the forum will bring together DfT, BIS and industry stakeholders to develop an industrial strategy to maximise the economic potential of the UK rail sector.
The forum will be chaired by Terence Watson, UK president of Alstom. He said: “With programmes like Crossrail, HS2 and regional schemes opening up, it’s clear that there are incredible opportunities to be grasped by the UK supply chain. I’m determined to help industry and government develop its strategic capability and also to develop our many rail SMEs to ensure that they can win more work both here and abroad.”