HC Deb 24 February 1986 vol 92 cc667-8
18. Mr. Campbell-Savours

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he next intends to meet the chairman of British Rail to discuss the procurement of capital equipment.

Mr. David Mitchell

The policy of the British Railways board, agreed by Ministers, is for competitive procurement. The implementation of this is a matter for the board.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Would the Minister wish to see the retention of railbus production at Workington in the event that the Laird Group succeeds in taking over Leyland Bus? Would he say that the Government and the British Railways Board are more than satisfied with the railbus while it is being produced at Workington?

Mr. Mitchell

I understand that British Rail was satisfied with the production at Workington. As to the competitive sourcing of DMUs, there will still be at least three potential suppliers for railbus and two for Sprinters. That is important to British Rail.

Mr. Roger King

Can my hon. Friend confirm that this Government's investment in British Rail is running at an all-time high?

Mr. Mitchell

I can confirm that British Rail's proposals for investment have been fully met whenever they have come forward and that they have been quickly turned round.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Is the Minister aware that there is widespread anxiety in south Wales about British Rail's announcement during the weekend of major cuts in the south Wales rail network, including the loss of 424 jobs at the Severn tunnel junction, which will decimate railway villages such as Rogiet, Magor and Undy? When the Minister next meets the chairman of BR, will he ask him to reconsider? Will the Minister notify the Secretary of State that there will be some concern about the fact that he has chosen not to make a statement to the House today about this extremely important matter?

Mr. Mitchell

The issues that the hon. Gentleman has raised are for the management of British Rail, but I shall look into the matter and write to him in response to his question.