§ Mr. Straw
Is the Minister aware that, because of the Government's continued delays and refusals to pump cash into British Rail to replace the ageing diesel multiple units, staff and passengers on lines such as the north-east Lancashire and many others must endure discomfort, or even worse? When does the Minister expect the fleets to be replaced not only by the light-weight but by medium-weight units? What funds will the Government allocate to the project?
§ Mr. Eyre
The hon. Gentleman is wrong in his allegations about Government contributions. British Rail's investment ceiling has been maintained in real terms, and public support is at a record level. The hon. Gentleman should understand that everyone wishes the ageing fleet of diesel multiple units to be replaced. British Rail has brought forward plans for light-weight vehicles, and will produce plans for medium-weight vehicles. Decisions on placing further orders will rest with the Railways Board, subject to any investment approval that it may need from my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Stokes
Why has the new investment on the St. Pancras-Bedford line not yet been utilised, even though £150 million of taxpayers' money was spent on the project a long time ago?
§ Mr. Booth
Does the Minister agree that the investment ceiling to which he referred has become absolutely irrelevant for British Rail, and that the combined effect of the external financing limit and lack of Government investment approvals has been to reduce the real investment expenditure in every year since the Government took office?