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Subsidies

Volume 929: debated on Monday 28 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport, further to his reply, Official Report, 9th March, column 1400, what account he is taking in his forthcoming White Paper on Transport of the percentage of costs provided by public funds for foreign railway administrations and urban transport authorities, respectively, operating in conditions similar to those found in the United Kingdom; and if he will publish a table showing the approximate percentage support received by such bodies, including the principal operators in the European Economic Community.

I shall consider relevant overseas experience, although reliable comparisons are difficult.The European Conference of Ministers of Transport has published the following information about the amounts paid by States in 1975 to railway undertakings in respect of compensation for public service obligations, revenue support subsidies, normalisation of accounts and other compensating payments, expressed as a percentage of railway costs:

per cent.
Austria53
Belgium52
France32
Germany25
Ireland36
Italy62
Luxembourg54
Netherlands41
Norway27
Sweden15

Certain kinds of support, however, including assistance for pensions are not included in these figures.The following table, based on 1975 information for urban undertakings in a number of European countries, shows the percentage of operators' costs, excluding depreciation and provision for renewals, which was met by fares:

CountryNumber of citiesFares revenue as per cent. of operating costs
France440–75
Germany450–75
Italy215–20
Denmark, Norway, Sweden440–60
Austria, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland650–55