§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his current estimate of the annual subsidy which will be paid to each of the regional railway franchisees for 1997–98. 
§ Mr. Watts
The Office of Passenger Rail Franchise's latest estimates of the grant support to be paid in 1997–98 to the franchisees that make up the previous regional railways sector British Rail are given in the table, together with the comparative British Rail grant claim for 1996–97. Both sets of figures comprise the annual support for passenger rail services grant paid by the franchising director and the financial support provided to train operators by passenger transport executives.
1996–97 grant claim £ million 1997–98 estimated payments £ million South Wales and West 84.8 70.9 Merseyrail 84.1 80.7 North West Regional Railways 191.9 184.9 Regional Railways North East 223.2 224.5 Central 198.1 187.5 ScotRail 292.3 280.1