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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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Government refutes “misleading” claims of Northern spending

The Department for Transport has slammed what it calls “misleading figures” on transport investment in northern England, following claims by think tank IPPR North that London is set to receive 2.9 times more transport investment.

The Government’s own statistics in its investment pipeline claim that the North West receives £333 transport spending per head, marginally higher than the South East (£329) and far ahead of London’s figure of £183. The statistics also suggest Yorkshire and the Humber receive £180 per capita and the North East £154.

However, IPPR’s analysis suggests that from 2018-19 onwards, planned central and local public/private transport infrastructure expenditure on committed projects is £3,636 per head in London but an average of £1,247 in the North.

IPPR North goes on to say that government analysis of planned spending is incomplete and that it makes two assumptions that IPPR North believes are flawed.

The first is that government figures exclude spending beyond 2021. IPPR North points out that the Government says it should only analyse projects within the spending review period (which ends in 2020-21), but believes this is flawed because the purpose of the investment pipeline is to set out long-term investment plans.

Secondly, the government analysis excludes £9.9 billion worth of expenditure in London, even though IPPR North argues that this is central government’s responsibility.

“We’re aware the government response to these figures may well be to challenge some of the assumptions we have made, but we stand by these assumptions and urge the government to be more transparent and consistent. This pattern of spending cannot be justified - despite many efforts to do so,” the report says.

In response, a DfT spokesman told RAlL: “We do not recognise these misleading figures - we’re spending more on transport per person in the North than anywhere else."

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 886, published on August 28, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from August 24.

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