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Business Comment

Anthony Hilton: Why we need to get the railways back on track

Thursday's task was to take part in a panel discussion on the financing and renewal of Britain's infrastructure organised by Reform, the think-tank.

It played to a packed house in the conference suite of the Association of British Insurers, not so much for our contribution, but for the keynote speech from Vince Cable and the fact there is growing concern across the business community over how much needs to be done, and how it is going to be paid for.

The mild hitch in our session was the no-show of fellow panellist Kwasi Kwarteng, Tory MP, member of the transport select committee and a man who, to judge from his previous pronouncements, does not much believe in increased state rather than private-sector spending as a way to address the problems.

He failed to appear because the train he was hoping to catch failed to turn up. A good enough reason to modify his views, perhaps.