§ Sir David Price
asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he is now in a position to respond to the various options proposed for the future of British Rail in the Serpell report; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. David Howell
The Serpell report presented broad illustrations about the cost of the rail network, not policy options. The report also identified scope for substantial cost savings while keeping the railway at broadly its present size. So the future of a modern and efficient railway does not mean providing ever increasing subsidies from the taxpayer. Nor does it require embarking on a major programme of route closures; and the Government do not intend to do so.