The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee is to examine the Government’s sale of its stake in cross-Channel passenger operator Eurostar today (November 18).
MPs will hear from Department for Transport Permanent Secretary Philip Rutnam, HM Treasury Second Permanent Secretary John Kingman, and Shareholder Executive Chief Executive Roger Lowe and Senior Responsible Officer for Sale of Eurostar Roger Lowe.
Although the Government received more than £750 million from its share in Eurostar, UK taxpayers’ investment is said to be around £3 billion. PAC Chairman Meg Hillier said ahead of the hearing: “The Government’s focus in selling its stake in Eurostar appears to have been on short-term cash rather than long-term value for taxpayers.
“Had it kept its share, the Government was forecast to pay off over £500m of national debt over the next ten years, using dividends from its 40% share in Eurostar, and receive a further £243m in dividends from its preference share.”
The PAC will examine “general lessons” for government from the sale, as it embarks on its asset sales programme.
- For more on this story, see RAIL 789, on sale December 9.