The businesses at risk from Network Rail’s railway arch sell off contribute over £725m to the UK economy ever year, according to the New Economics Foundation, as the campaign to save them gathers pace.
The finding comes as the four firms still in the running for Network Rail’s £1.5bn one-off sale of its 5,476 railway arches prepare to submit their final bids.
The Guardians of the Arches, a campaign group led by small businesses based in arches and supported by the New Economics Foundation and East End Trades Guild, is calling on the government to intervene in the sale to ensure their interests are protected.
Each business in an arch contributes an estimated £160,000 to GDP every year according to the research, with the 30% of arches tenants in vehicle sale and repair alone contributing nearly £200m a year to the economy
Sarah Arnold, researcher at the New Economics Foundation who conducted the research, said the work of the enterprising small businesses and their contribution to the economy was under threat by the sell off: