§ Mrs. Dunwoody
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the estimated predicted levels of240W public service obligation grant payable to the railways in each of the years from 1995–96 to 2003–4. 
§ Mr. Watts
Support for passenger rail services is now paid by the franchising director under section 52 of the Railways Act 1993. He expects to pay grant of some £1,600 million in 1995–96. The Government remain committed to providing grant to support passenger services. The grant level in 1996–97 and beyond will depend on the outcome of competitions for passenger franchises. The Government are confident that private sector franchises will offer better value for money for passengers and taxpayers, as clearly indicated by the first three franchises announced in December.