FUTURE issues can be avoided if the UK Government delivers on rail improvement promises, according to Copeland Labour.

A report commissioned by the UK Government has called for improvements to the nation's rail infrastructure. Sir Peter Hendy CBE has published the Union Connectivity Review, recommending an overhaul of the UK's rail transport infrastructure.

The report calls for a strategic transport network for the whole of the UK and greater investment for the areas most in need of improved connectivity.

He also called for an upgrade of the West Coast Mainline to improve journey times and capacity. Sir Peter said that this would support HS2 is improving connectivity between England and Scotland.

The report has been published in the wake of the Integrated Rail Plan setting out the Government's investment in transport.

Transport for the North board members called the plan "woefully inadequate" as it rowed back on promises to improve east and west connectivity. The IRP has also been slammed for failing to mention Cumbria.

Labour councillor for Whitehaven Joseph Ghayouba said that the Government needs to deliver on promises to improve Cumbria's "atrocious" rail services.

"It's long overdue but one of the other things that frustrates me is they did a review in the coalition years, in the David Cameron years and when Theresa May was Prime Minister.

"I don't see why there's a need for any commission, they know the answers. If I was a civil servant working in the transport department I'd think 'not again.' It's like Groundhog Day.

Cllr Ghayouba said: "The picture hasn't changed here in terms of the transport needs and it's going to be crucial when we move into local government reorganisation. Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland are going to be one council and the train-line that connects them is atrocious."

Sir Peter's report was a joint effort with the Department for Transport.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "Transport is key to binding the family of nations that is the United Kingdom closer together, so that prosperity can be shared more evenly. It is not good enough that certain areas of the UK thrive while others fall behind. We must realise our full national potential, and that means mobilising the resources and skills of all parts of this country."

"I am indebted to Sir Peter for his work. We will consider his recommendations carefully, engage closely with the devolved administrations, and work collegiately to ensure these proposals strengthen the ties that bind us, now and for the future."

Responding to the release of the Union Connectivity Review, Tim Foster, Transport for the North’s Interim Director of Strategy and Programme, said: "The final report reflects many of the key connectivity priorities TfN has proposed, including strengthened connectivity between the North of England, North Wales and Scotland.

“We particularly welcome the proposals for a strategic approach planning and managing the transport network for the whole of the UK. We look forward to understanding more of the detail, including how Sub-national Transport Bodies like TfN can contribute to it’s development.

“We will consult our Members on how the proposal of a ‘UKNET’ and how it will work for the interests of the North, but we welcome any suggestion that aims to improve capacity and connectivity across the North of England.”