asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will make a statement on main line railway electrification.
The British Railways Board has submitted to me a 10-year programme of schemes for the electrification of potentially profitable main line routes, and proposals for electrification of the east coast main line to Leeds and Newcastle, which has top priority in that programme. However, projects on this scale cannot be considered separately from the prospects for the board's inter-city business. Early in the year the board submitted to me a financial prospectus for the business which, as we had asked, demonstrated a path to profit in 1985. Events since then have resulted in changes to forecasts included in the prospectus, and this less satisfactory picture is reflected in the board's work on its current annual planning exercise. The board will present very early in the new year its revised proposals for the future of its inter-city business, and if these are satisfactory the way will be clear for a decision on the east coast main line.