To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the net cost to the public purse was of expenditure on railways in each year from 1973. 
For each of the 30 years from 1972–73 to 2001–02 the table shows, in columns (1)-(4), total central government support to, and the external finance requirement of, British Rail and, since privatisation, total central government support to the rail industry. In column (5), it shows total rail investment. Columns (1)-(4) are not cumulative with column (5).
Central government support figures for the years from 1972–73 to 1975–76 are from The Government's Expenditure Plans, Volume II, Cmnd 6721–11, February 1977, Table 2.6. Central government support figures for the years from 1976–77 to 1979–80 are from The Government's Expenditure Plans 1982–83 to 1984–85, Volume II, Cmnd 8494–11, March 1982, Table 2.6. British Rail external finance requirement (EFR) figures for the years from 1980–81 to 1984–85 are from The Government's Expenditure Plans 1986–87 to 1988–89, Volume II, Cmnd 9702–11, January 1986, Table 5.21. EFR and central government support figures for the years from 1985–86 onwards are from National Rail Trends (NRT), Table 5.1. Investment figures are from NRT, Table 5.2.
Central government support figures for 1994–95, 1995–96 and 1996–97 include privatisation effects.
These consisted of:
(a) proceeds from the sales of businesses which (other than those from the sale of Railtrack) were used to reduce the rail industry's overall funding requirement; less
(b) the external finance contributions (EFCs) lost when businesses were sold. A business's EFC represented the excess of its income from revenue and grant over its costs. Each time a business was sold, its EFC was lost to the public sector and BR's overall external finance requirement adjusted accordingly.
Investment figures for 1993–94 onwards include investment by the private sector.