HC Deb 05 February 1998 vol 305 cc726-7W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what plans he has to ensure that ROSCOs invest adequate amounts in improving the quality of rolling stock on the United Kingdom's railways; [27100]

(2) what plans he has to ensure that ROSCOs do not over-charge rail operators; [27101]

(3) what plans he has to ensure that the public subsidy to the railways is devoted to improving services, with particular reference to the quality of the rolling stock. [27102]

Ms Glenda Jackson

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 21 January that he had asked the Rail Regulator to conduct an urgent and wide-ranging inquiry into the operation of the rolling stock market. The Regulator has been asked specifically to examine the scope for the rolling stock companies to abuse their market power either through excessive pricing, through inadequate investment in new or refurbished rolling stock or more generally through their response to the requirements of train operators to secure improvements in performance. The Regulator has been asked to report by the middle of April. The Government will then consider, in the light of the Regulator's recommendations, whether further action should be taken.