HC Deb 14 February 1962 vol 653 c1293
39. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Transport what estimate he has made of losses, after interest payments, by the railways in respect of the year to 5th April, 1962; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Marples

For 1961, their accounting year, British Railways' deficit is estimated to be about £151 million. This figure includes some £15 million for interest on borrowings by the British Transport Commission to meet the revenue deficit of British Railways. Estimates of the railways' deficit for the twelve months ending 5th April, 1962, are not available.

Mr. Nabarro

Is not that figure of £151 million approximately £11 million more than the estimated loss, and can my right hon. Friend tell the House whether we shall be given a statement shortly as to the profit-earning prospects of British Railways in the next few years, if at all, having regard to the huge investment of new moneys in the railway system as part of the modernisation plan?[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not."] Yes, I am all for it, but when are they going to start showing a return on it?

Mr. Marples

The present Chairman of the British Transport Commission has instituted a number of traffic studies and is going into them with great exactitude and is trying to be as precise as he can. We must wait until he has finished those studies.

Mr. H. Hynd

Does not this figure of the deficit which the hon. Gentleman has just mentioned show the damage done to the finances of the British Transport Commission when the road traffic was taken away from it?

Mr. Marples

I do not think so.

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