§ Mr. Trippier
asked the Minister of Transport if he will meet the chairman of British Railways to discuss future financial policy.
§ Mr. O'Halloran
asked the Minister of Transport what is his policy towards future investment in the railways; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Fowler
I refer my hon. Friends and the hon. Members to the reply I gave to the hon. Members for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) and for Newton (Mr. Evans) earlier today.
§ Mr. Prescott
asked the Minister of Transport whether he will give an assurance that the current deterioration in track, signalling equipment and rolling stock due to inadequate public investment in British Railways is not affecting safety standards.
§ Mr. Fowler
The Railway Board's investment ceiling, which was set by the last Administration and has not been cut, is adequate in this regard. The board had earlier expressed concern that the level of spending, over several 409W years, on track renewal could have implications for the erosion of safety standards. Such expenditure was freed from the investment ceiling last February. The board has recently stated to me that, despite the constraints of its financial situation, it will not relax its traditional standards of safety, which are, of course, very high.