Investment in the rail network has generated £426 million of work for businesses in the West Midlands over the last year, according to new figures released by Network Rail.
Around a quarter of the money was spent on building projects, helping small and medium-sized businesses based in the region.
Network Rail has estimated that investment over the last year has boosted economic growth and employment across a wide range of industries, supporting 11,980 jobs locally.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said: “Investing in infrastructure has a direct effect on the economy, creating jobs, and giving Britain the infrastructure we need to build a stronger economy and fairer society.
“This report is excellent in highlighting the opportunities for small and medium sized businesses that come with infrastructure investment. That is why we have set out £100 billion of investment in infrastructure over the next Parliament, including supporting the largest programme of investment in rail since the Victorian era. I’m very glad to see that Network Rail are doing their bit to drive sustainable and balanced economic growth across the UK.”
Across Britain, Network Rail’s major projects division – which is responsible for delivering enhancement schemes such as the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street and the Thameslink Programme upgrade, invested £3.2 billion in 2012/13.
This investment has sustained over 90,000 full-time jobs nationwide in addition to the 34,000 people directly employed by Network Rail, generating significant financial benefits as well as boosting local economies.
Neil Thompson, regional director, Network Rail Infrastructure Projects, said: “The rail industry is increasingly recognised as a key contributor to our national, economic and social well-being. This is true in the West Midlands, where investment in stations and the rail network provided a £426 million boost to companies in the region, supporting sustainable economic growth and jobs.
“Every day, thousands of rail journeys are made through the region and the railway transports millions of tonnes of goods between ports and shops. But railways don’t just move people and freight. Railways connect homes and workplaces, businesses with markets, create jobs, stimulate trade and support the growth of a balanced economy.”
The rail industry’s supply chain is both extended and varied, ranging from professional services to the construction industry. Rail investment is therefore an important driver of growth across many of the UK’s industrial sectors.