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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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Devolution key to regional stimulus - Armitt

Devolution needs to continue, despite the problems facing Transport for London, says National Infrastructure Commission Chairman and former NR Chief Executive Sir John Armitt CBE.

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak on May 12, Armitt wrote: “We would encourage you to continue with your stated agenda to give the leaders of our larger cities the funding and freedom they need to start work on their local infrastructure priorities, which would not only provide regional stimulus but help meet the needs of their growing populations over the longer term.

“Urban public transport investment - and particularly starting to plan now for the transformative new projects - remains key to supporting future economic growth and levelling up the country.”

Speaking to RAIL on May 22, Armitt said: “Clearly TfL was affected by the delays to Crossrail, and the overrun has hurt, too. And affected by the freezing of fares, which is a worthy idea, but which can bring long-term pain.

“I don’t think that those issues overall stop me being in strong favour of devolution, but that must include fiscal power for the Mayors.”

  • For the FULL story, including an exclusive interview with Sir John Armitt CBE, read RAIL 906, published on June 3, and available digitally from May 30.

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