HC Deb 06 June 1996 vol 278 c531W
Sir David Mitchell

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to privatise Railfreight Distribution; and if he will make a statement. [32067]

Mr. Watts

I have today announced that the Government have decided that Railfreight Distribution—British Rail's channel tunnel freight business—should be offered for sale as soon as possible. I have asked BR, in consultation with my Department, to draw up a programme for its disposal. The offer for sale will be based on the existing business.

Railfreight Distribution is heavily loss-making. Privatisation will enable the business to be put onto a sound financial footing so that the growth potential of international freight services via the channel tunnel can be exploited on a commercial basis, thereby furthering the objective of transferring more freight from road to rail.