Government spending on rail network falls to 15-year low

Spending down by almost 13% from last year


The amount spent on Britain's railways by the government has fallen to its lowest level for nearly 15 years, new figures show.

Some £4.2 billion of government support went to the rail industry in 2016/17 to help with the operation, maintenance and upgrading of the network.

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This was a drop of almost 13% on the previous year, once inflation is taken into account.

The decrease was mostly due to the end of funding for Crossrail, London's new east-to-west line.

The figures, from the Office of Rail and Road, show that government support for Britain's rail network peaked in 2006/07 (£7.5 billion), since when it has dropped in real terms by 44%.

Total spending in 2016/17 was the lowest since 2002/03 (£3.4 billion).

The majority of government support was in the form of a grant to Network Rail (£4.1 billion), which was used to maintain and improve the network.

This amount was up slightly (£32 million) on the previous year.

Funding also rose for new high-speed line HS2.

This went up from £472 million in 2015/16 to £839 million in 2016/17.

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