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British Railways (Financing Policy)

Volume 984: debated on Thursday 15 May 1980

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to enable the British Railways Board to borrow sterling in the United Kingdom in the same way as it can borrow in terms of foreign currency.

[pursuant to his reply, 14 May 1980]: The Government have agreed to discuss with the nationalised industries' chairmen's group the possibility of modifying the nationalised industries' financing arrangements, subject to the constraints of overall economic policy.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the British Railways Board, in the light of the Government's regulation of exchange control, is now able to borrow money abroad without limit; and, if not, if he has any proposals to remove the restriction on the amount it may borrow.

[pursuant to his reply, 14 May 1980]: All forms of borrowing by the British Railways board are, by statute, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State and count towards the industries' external financing limit. Within the external financing limit, the scope for overseas borrowing by the nationalised industries is necessarily constrained by the Government's wider objective of securing a substantial reduction in the burden of our official external debt during this Parliament.