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Railways: France

Volume 716: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made an assessment of the impact of the Government of France’s new tax on rail passenger vehicles operating in France but not registered in France, coupled with a partial abolition of an asset-based tax applicable to vehicles registered in France, on the ability of United Kingdom operators to introduce competitive open access services in France; and, if so, whether they will make representations to the Government of France and the European Union regarding this development. [HL1362]

We estimate the impact on the wider Eurostar business to be in the region of €7 million per annum. We have not made any assessment of the impact on other specific operations. The proposed taxe sur le material roulant needs to be seen in the context of a wider restructuring by the French Government of taxe professionnelle and the introduction of other carbon taxes. Nevertheless the UK Government are concerned about the potential burden this tax represents on a green form of transport at a time when we and our European partners are seeking to grow and develop international rail markets and competition. I have written to the French Government to convey these concerns. The UK, along with a number of other member states, has also made representations to the European Commission.