§ 7. Mr. Galbraith
asked the Minister of Transport how the cost of socially useful railway lines in excess of £55 million per annum will be financed.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. Neil Carmichael)
The figure of £55 million is an estimate of the likely total cost, not a statutory limit. The whole cost of these grants will be financed from the Exchequer.
§ Mr. Galbraith
If the figure of £55 million is only an estimate, does this mean that, if all socially useful lines are to be kept open, the figure means nothing at all and is in fact an open ended subsidy from the Government which may well be in excess of £55 million?
§ Mr. Carmichael
No, Sir. We are not in a position to improve on the broad estimate of £55 million made by the Joint Steering Group, but we have no reason to think that the figure is unrealistic.