§ Mr. Baker
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 7 December 1998,Official Report, column 36, what the reasons were for the size of the increase in the external finance requirement for the British Railways Board between 1996–97 and 1997–98. 
§ Ms Glenda Jackson
The increase in the British Railways Board's external finance requirement between 1996–97 and 1997–98 reflects the combined effects of large changes in the Board's finances. In particular, as a result of privatisation, the Board's turnover fell from £3,397 million in 1996–97 including grants of £1,507 million, to just £231 million in 1997–98 including grants of £51 million.