§ Mr. Thornton
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what terms he has agreed to capital reconstruction of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Channon
As part of the company's capital reorganisation proposals, I have agreed to waive the120W repayment of Government grants totalling £110 million and to cancel £1.5 million of Government loans. In exchange, the company accepts that it will no longer be eligible for support under the Ports (Financial Assistance) Act 1981 and that the Department's guarantee of its overdraft will cease. The Government's shares in the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company will be voted in support of the board's proposal to capitalise the company's loan stock at the extraordinary general meeting on 30 May.
If the shareholders approve the capital reorganisation, I intend to sell the whole of the Government's current holding of company shares at the earliest appropriate opportunity. Following that, I shall relinquish the special share which empowers me to appoint up to three directors to the company's board.