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Channel Tunnel

Volume 115: debated on Tuesday 5 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport how the rescinding of the letter of October 1986 to British Rail which instructed British Rail not to make advance payments to Eurotunnel was communicated; if he will publish all documents involved in the rescinding; and if he gave any guidance to British Rail on the sources of revenue which it might make available for advance payments to Eurotunnel.

British Rail was advised by letter on 17 March that as a result of the provisions in clause 40 of the Channel Tunnel Bill which forbids Government grants to British Rail in respect of international rail services, it would not be contrary to the treaty for it to include in its proposed contract with Eurotunnel a provision to make advance toll payments, if it judged this to be commercially attractive.However, British Rail is not currently contemplating the making of advance toll payments of this kind. What is currently under negotiation between BR, SNCF and Eurotunnel is some form of reservation fee for the use of the tunnel, to be paid on a monthly basis when the tunnel is open and to be offset against toll payments. There is no question of contravening the treaty by allowing Government funds to be used for this purpose.