HL Deb 21 October 1992 vol 539 cc89-90WA
Lord Gainford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they intend to publish British Rail's final response to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on the provincial business sector.

The Earl of Caithness

We have today placed a copy of British Rail's response in the Library of the House, BR accepted all 41 recommendations that were addressed to them. Many have already been fully implemented, and BR have set out the action that they are taking, or intend to take, to implement the remainder. One recommendation, concerning the role of local authorities in supporting rail services, and the scope for creation of new passenger transport authorities, is a matter for government. Under the Government's proposals for the privatisation of British Rail, passenger transport authorities will continue their responsibilities for local services in their areas. And other local authorities will continue to have powers to contribute to enhanced rail services.

Our White Paper on the privatisation of BR sets out in detail our proposals for the future structure and financing of rail services. These proposals will lead to a fundamental reform of the railway, under which the private sector will gradually take over the operation of passenger services. We believe that the involvement of the private sector will bring a greater focus on the passenger and therefore lead to a more attractive and efficient network of passenger services. It would not be sensible to contemplate major changes in the role of local authorities until experience has been gained of the operation of the new franchising regime.