Future of Yorkshire train-manufacturing factory 'affected by TfL funding row', Labour MPs claim

Boris Johnson visited the site of the factory in Goole last year.Boris Johnson visited the site of the factory in Goole last year.
Boris Johnson visited the site of the factory in Goole last year.
Labour MPs in the capital have warned the future of a new train-manufacturing factory in East Yorkshire could be put at risk unless the Government resolves its funding row with Transport for London.

A Siemens facility in Goole is due to open in 2023 and be involved in the manufacture of Tube trains.

But a group of 13 Labour MPs, including Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy and former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, have said the future of the factory, whose site was visited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last year, may be affected.

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With the current government funding deal running out today and TfL finances badly hit by Covid-19 reducing passenger numbers, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has warned services may need to be cut unless extra support is given.

Boris Johnson at the site of the factory in July 2020.Boris Johnson at the site of the factory in July 2020.
Boris Johnson at the site of the factory in July 2020.

But Minister for London Paul Scully said earlier this week that Mr Khan was “being melodramatic” and there will be sufficient Government support.

The letter from the MPs to Mr Johnson said: “New Piccadilly line trains are due to be built at a state-of-the-art factory in Goole, which you visited in July 2020.

“This factory is supporting highly skilled, green jobs in engineering and manufacturing, and is central to the levelling up agenda.”

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The letter also highlighted the economic benefits, with up to 700 direct jobs created with and a further 250 roles during the construction of the facility. As many as 1,700 jobs could be created in the supply chains for the factory.

The letter added: “If TfL were to be funded adequately, there is an opportunity for Tube trains to be manufactured at this factory for years to come. This is one of the best examples of investment in London leading directly to investment in the rest of the country.

“In light of the ‘managed decline’ scenario of reduced funding that TfL has had to develop, however, there is a risk these contracts may have to be unpicked.

“TfL has also set out that under the ‘managed decline’ scenario, upgrades to the Piccadilly line signalling – key to running more trains and reducing the chronic overcrowding Londoners have put up with for years – now looks set to not go ahead.

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“Not going ahead with re-signalling would also impact internal capability, disrupt the supply chain, and delay capacity benefits of the new fleet.”

Writing for The Evening Standard this week, Minister for London Paul Scully said: “There is, and will be, more than enough money to keep services running at their current levels, and there is no basis whatever for Khan’s threat to cut them.

“In the next deal we will commit, as we have before, to making up TfL’s loss of fare revenue from Covid. TfL’s main source of income is therefore guaranteed by the State - at a cost so far to national taxpayers of more than £4bn.”

Government 'aiming to be fair to taxpayers across nation'

A DfT Spokesperson said: “Government has repeatedly shown its commitment to supporting London's transport network since the start of the pandemic, providing more than £4bn in emergency funding to Transport for London.

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“In addition to the emergency funding, this year’s Spending Review settlement for London provided over a billion pounds of capital investment per year, in line with previous funding. This is at a time of significant pressure on national finances.

“We are in discussions with TfL on funding beyond December 11, and any future support provided will focus on getting TfL back onto a sustainable financial footing in a way that is fair to taxpayers across the country.”

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