§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has for the future privatisation of the nationalised industries for which he is responsible.
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
The British Waterways Board is financed as to 85 per cent. of its total income by annual grants from the Exchequer; an objective currently under discussion with the Board is that it should increase opportunities for private sector participation in its business for example by direct investment, contracting out, joint ventures and hiving off.
Although they are not strictly nationalised industries, the water authorities are generally treated as such. I have no plans to privatise them, but I am examining proposals aimed at increasing private sector involvement in their activities to improve their efficiency.