§ Mr. Freeman
The Government today appointed Hambros Bank Ltd. to advise on the scope for such a joint venture. The study marks a new departure in our efforts to involve private finance in railway projects. Up to now the Government have invited the private sector to come forward with proposals which have then been considered on their merits. With this study the Department is taking the initiative. Hambros has been given a remit to develop an outline proposal or proposals which will be attractive to the private sector and fall within the Government's published guidelines for joint ventures. These mean that control of the venture will rest with the private sector who will also be expected to take on genuine risk in return for an appropriate share of revenues. Consortia will be invited to bid for the role of joint venture partner on these terms.
The Government are determined to pave the way for private sector funding on railway projects. Equipment on the west coast main line is reaching the end of its economic life. We are hopeful that private sector funding will enable us to bring forward modernisation of one of the premier railway routes in the country.