HC Deb 03 December 1993 vol 233 c748W
Mr. Dunn

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements he has made for the financial reconstruction of the Port of London authority following the privatisation of the port of Tilbury.

Mr. MacGregor

I have concluded with the Port of London authority—PLA—an agreement under which the PLA has paid my Department £1.851 million from its capital reserve. PLA will in addition make further payments to my Department, at the end of each financial year ending on 31 December, of sums representing both the profits of the PLA's property management company, Port of London Properties Ltd.—POLP—and the net proceeds from their disposal of specified properties owned by the PLA and its subsidiaries. These properties were valued at some £35 million at December 1992. A sum of £951,000 has been paid to my Department in respect of the year ending 31 December 1992.

These payments will be taken in payment of the repayable grants totalling some £147 million made to the PLA under the Ports (Financial Assistance) Acts of 1980 and 1981. The PLA's outstanding liability in respect of these repayable grants will be progressively reduced as these payments are made to my Department. When all of the specified properties have been disposed of, POLP will be wound up and the Department will relinquish its rights to any remaining repayable grants.

This agreement has advantages for both parties over the previous arrangements for the repayment of the repayable grants. For the Government, it has provided a more certain prospect of substantial receipts than under the time-limited conditions attached to those arrangements. For the PLA, it has removed a substantial contingent liability, which was a disincentive to sound financial management of the business.