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British Railways (Subsidiary Businesses)

Volume 981: debated on Wednesday 19 March 1980

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36.

asked the Minister of Transport what proposals he has made to the British Railways Board about the setting up of a holding company for its subsidiary businesses.

I intend to find ways to involve private risk capital in the major British Railways subsidiaries. The chairman has undertaken to pursue this urgently and I have asked him particularly to examine the idea of a holding company. I will make a further statement when I have the results of our joint examination.

38.

asked the Minister of Transport if he is satisfied that present financial arrangements have permitted a reasonable rate of investment in the principal British Railways' subsidiaries.

No. Under present arrangements the board must weigh investment in the subsidiaries against investment in railways within the ceilings set by Government. This system can work to the disadvantage of businesses such as Sealink and hotels and prevent them from realising their full potential. This is one of the major reasons why I have put to the board proposals for involving private capital in its subsidiaries.

43.

asked the Minister of Transport what effect Government policy has had on the development of British Railways subsidiaries.

Government policy in recent years has served only to restrict development of the businesses. It is my policy that they should have the opportunity through private investment to grow unhampered.