§ Mr. MacGregor
We have decided that British Rail's passenger rolling stock leasing companies should be sold during 1995.
The three rolling stock leasing compaies were established as subsidiaries of British Rail, as part of the reorganisation of the railways introduced in April this year, to lease rolling stock to British Rail's 25 passenger train operating units. It was made clear at the time the companies were set up that they would be transferred to the private sector as soon as practicable. Detailed leases with 278W each of the train operating units will now be put in place in final form by the end of this year. The companies will then be offered for trade sale as early as possible in 1995.
The privatisation of the rolling stock leasing companies will be a major step in the rail privatisation programme. Freed from the constraints of operating in the public sector, the three companies will be able to bring private sector expertise and commercial practice to the supply of rolling stock to train operators. In particular, they will be free to raise private capital for new investment. I look forward to the development of a thriving competitive market in the provision of passenger rolling stock.