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British Railways (Overseas Work)

Volume 983: debated on Wednesday 23 April 1980

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21.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will give a general direction to British Railways not to tender for overseas consultancy work or the supply of rolling stock or other equipment

Is the Minister aware that I very much welcome that answer? Will he agree that British Rail could do a lot of valuable work in Third world countries, both in the form of consultancy and by supplying equipment and rolling stock?

I congratulate the hon. Member on his impromtu supplementary question. I agree entirely with what he said. I have just come back from leading a small delegation to China, and one of the results of that will be that British Rail and its overseas arm, Transmark will have the opportunity to go to China and bid for important electrification work there. This kind of work is important, not just to British Rail, but to the whole of the rail industry, much of which is in the private sector.

Will my right hon. Friend congratulate Sir Peter Parker on the great initiative that he and his colleagues in British Rail have shown in going out into the world and selling the enterprise that exists in this country?

Yes, Sir, I shall certainly do so. I endorse entirely what my hon. Friend says. I am sure that the House would also wish to pay tribute to the real efforts and real achievements of the private railway industry. Those have also been substantial.