§ Mrs. Dunwoody
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what provisions he has made in the railway privatisation proposals to ensure a high and sustained level of investment is maintained in infrastructure enhance-ments or renewal and the provision of new rolling stock and traction.
§ Mr. Freeman
From April 1994 Railtrack will have the lead responsibility for investment in track and related infrastructure and will make charges to operators allowing it to recoup investment expenditure and earn a rate of return on it. The Government will provide indirect support through subsidy for franchised passenger services, and direct support for investment in schemes not earning an adequate financial return but which provide a satisfactory cost-benefit return when wider benefits are taken into account.
In last year's autumn statement the Government gave approval to British Rail to lease £150 million worth of new rolling stock. This and the establishment of three publicly owned rolling stock companies will encourage the development of a leasing market. The Government's intention is that provision of rolling stock should in future pass increasingly to the private sector and so be outside the constraints of public expenditure.
Clause 46 of the Railways Bill is also designed to encourage investment in railway assets with an economic life longer than a franchise.