HC Deb 02 November 2000 vol 355 cc549-50W
Mr. Llew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much public money has been paid to(a) the railway operating companies and (b) Railtrack in each year since privatisation; and what annual payments are to be made in future years. [135432]

Mr. Hill

Since privatisation, Support for Passenger Rail Services (SPRS) has been paid by the Franchising Director to passenger train operating companies (TOCs). Also, certain TOCs receive income from Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs) for rail passenger services in major conurbations. In addition, freight operating companies (FOCs) receive freight grant payments from my Department.

The table provides details, for each year since the TOCs and FOCs were created, of SPRS and PTE payments to the TOCs, and freight grant payments to the FOCs. The figures for 2000–01 are estimated outturns.

Cash prices
£ million
SPRS PTE Freight grant
1994–95 1.783 346
1995–96 1,669 362
1996–97 1,809 291 12
1997–98 1,429 375 21
1998–99 1,196 337 19
1999–2000 1,033 312 17
2000–01 913 280 16

Since privatisation, no public money has been paid direct to Railtrack, but the company's profitability is contingent on public money. Some 90 per cent. of Railtrack's income is paid to the company by TOCs and FOCs in access charges, a substantial proportion of which are supported by public money.

The precise size of annual payments in future years will depend on negotiations which the Franchising Director has not yet completed with TOCs and others. Under existing franchises, total subsidy to TOCs is set to fall from some £1.2 billion this year to less than £900 million by 2002–03. Also, the Franchising Director has approved a number of projects under the Rail Passenger Partnership (RPP) scheme, involving commitments to pay some £12 million to TOCs. He is currently considering 23 other possible RPP projects, with potential to generate payments of an additional £53 million. The Ten-Year Plan for Transport provides for substantial extra Government funding to halt the decline in revenue subsidy and for direct payments of renewals capital grant to Railtrack for both passengers and freight. In addition, the Plan provides for a Rail Modernisation Fund of £7 billion to support enhancements of the rail network.

Forward to