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As lockdown restrictions ease and we start to consider travelling again, the future of cross-Channel operator Eurostar remains uncertain.
Eurostar is seeking financial support from the UK Government, citing higher access charges here as a reason.
The French Government has pledged to provide support for the operator, while £200 million has been provided by one of its shareholders, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure.
Registered in the UK and supporting 3,000 jobs either with the business or in the supply chain, the company is, however, 55% owned by SNCF (French state rail), 40% by CDPQ/Hermes and 5% by SNCB (Belgian state railways).
So: Should the UK Government provide financial assistance to Eurostar?

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Eurotunnel revenues increase in interim results

Eurotunnel revenues in the six months to June 30 rose by 2% to £582m (£486.3m) with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increasing by 4% to £249m.

The Channel Tunnel operator says the period was the best half-year ever for its Truck Shuttle, with almost 830,000 trucks transported, a record for the company. It claims market share increased by two percentage points to 39.7%.

Despite an overall contraction in the cross-Channel car market of 4%, car traffic increased slightly from 1.159m vehicles carried to 1.162m. However, the number of coaches fell by 12%. Eurostar passenger numbers dipped below the five million mark, to 4.971 million.

However, rail freight volumes fell by 43% in terms of tonnes carried and trains operated. In the first half of 2016 just 860 freight trains ran, compared with 1,536 the year before, with 512,895 tonnes carried against 892,000 in the first half of 2015.

Eurotunnel Chairman and Chief Executive Jacques Gounon said: “Month after month, Eurotunnel has broken traffic records, particularly for the Truck Shuttles. The Tunnel has never been as highly utilised as it is today. Despite the financial market uncertainty generated by the United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union, the group remains confident in the performance of its economic model and in its outlook.”

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