UK establishes rail supplier forum

The UK government has set up a ‘Rail Industry Supply Chain Forum’ tasked with drawing up a strategy to strengthen the global competitiveness of Britain’s rail sector.

Led by Alstom’s UK president Terence Watson, the body will work to help UK suppliers to win domestic and foreign contracts, inform government investment plans about the capability of UK suppliers and put into place protections from ‘feast and famine’ order books.

The announcement was made by the Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin during a visit to the site of a planned £82 million Hitachi train assembly plant in Newton Aycliffe.

Vince Cable, said: “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 creation of the Rail Supply Chain Forum will ensure we are working in partnership with industry in line with our industrial strategy, so British businesses are better able to win work both here and abroad.”

Terence Watson 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.”