To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the funding of the special purpose vehicle projects being pursued by the Strategic Rail Authority; and if he will list the companies with which the Strategic Rail Authority is negotiating regarding SPV projects. 
The Strategic Rail Authority is developing its model for procurement of projects, including those in which SPVs may play a role, in discussion with Network Rail. Projects are under preparation but are not yet at the negotiating stage.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what budget (a) resource, (b) capital and (c) in total has been provided by his Department to the Strategic Rail Authority in each year since it has been in operation, including in its shadow form, and projected to 2004–05 (i) at out-turn prices and (ii) at today's prices. 
The table provides the information requested, for the years from 1999–2000 to 2004–05.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether any specific liabilities of the Strategic Rail Authority, beyond those detailed in his Minutes to Parliament of 27 June 2002, are comprised within the comfort letter proposed to be issued to the Strategic Rail Authority, as set out in the Secretary of State's Minute of 3 February; (2) what requirements for accountability to Parliament he intends to apply to the Strategic Rail Authority in respect of its receipt of guarantees from public funds for its borrowings; 
(3) if he will inform the House if his current intentions as regards the matters contained in his proposed comfort letter to the Strategic Rail Authority (3 February 2003 written statement) were to change; 
(4) whether the contingent liabilities of the Strategic Rail Authority which are proposed to be the subject of a comfort letter from him would score against public sector debt; 
(5) pursuant to his written statement of 3 February, for what reason his power to guarantee the Strategic Rail Authority's borrowing under Schedule 14 of the Transport Act 2000 is confined to "sums which the SRA borrows temporarily"; and how he defines "temporarily" in this context; 
(6) whether the contingent liabilities of the Strategic Rail Authority in respect of which he proposes to issue a comfort letter includes (a) the Bridge Facility I, (b) the KfW facilities, (c) the EIB facilities and (d) the legacy working capital facility, as set out in Minutes from him laid before Parliament on 27 June 2002; 
(7) whether any limit (a) has been and (b) is intended to be set in relation to the contingent liabilities of the Strategic Rail Authority which are proposed to be the subject of a comfort letter from the Secretary of State, as set out in his minute of 3 February; 
(8) what limit on contingent liabilities, which may be the subject of the proposed comfort letter to the Strategic Rail Authority from him as proposed in his Minute to Parliament of 3 February, is consistent with the Strategic Rail Authority's current (a) agreed budget and (b) financial framework; 
(9) under what circumstances his statement in paragraph 12 of his proposed comfort letter to the Strategy Rail Authority, that the letter does not create binding obligations and should not be construed as a guarantee, would override his current intention as set out in paragraph 11. 
The contingent liabilities notified to Parliament on 27 June 2002 were in respect of the SRA's specific obligations for the support arrangements for Network Rail. These included support for the Bridge Facility, the KfW facility, the EEB facility, and the legacy working capital facility. The SRA comfort letter notified to Parliament on 3 February 2003 covers the generality of the SRA's financial obligations, and therefore covers, inter alia, the specific obligations notified in June.It is not possible to quantify or limit the contingent liabilities in respect of the SRA comfort letter beyond the provisos set out in the letter, especially at paragraphs 9 to 11. The SRA is required to operate within its agreed budget and financial framework.Any new contingent liabilities in respect of the SRA, or any significant changes to the nature or size of existing contingent liabilities, will be notified to Parliament in accordance with Government Accounting. Under UK accounting standards, a liability is defined as contingent if it is dependent on uncertain future events or is not likely to be called. Contingent liabilities do not score as public sector debt.The Minute accompanying the proposed SRA comfort letter summarises the Secretary of State's statutory powers to finance the SRA. In particular it notes the Secretary of State's opinion that he has no legal power to guarantee the performance of the SRA's financial obligations apart from the provision in Schedule 14 of the Transport Act 2000 in respect of temporary borrowing by the SRA from another person. Temporary borrowing is intended to cover borrowing such as by way of overdraft or bridging facility, where moneys are not intended to be advanced on a long-term basis.There are currently no such guarantees from public funds for any temporary borrowing by the SRA. If any such guarantees were to be given by the Secretary of State, or where any sum were to be paid out in fulfilling a guarantee, then notification to each House of Parliament is required in accordance with the provisions of the Transport Act 2000.The statement in paragraph 12 of the SRA comfort letter, that it does not create legal obligations, reflects the legal position in respect of that letter. It is compatible with the statement of the Secretary of State's current intentions in paragraph 11 of the comfort letter.