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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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‘Green Book’ alterations to end north-south divide

The Government has announced that it will make changes to the Treasury’s ‘Green Book’ and the way in which Treasury officials appraise public spending proposals.

It follows the conclusion of a review set up in response to criticism that current guidance “may mitigate against investment in poorer parts of the UK”.

The review examined current guidance on appraising environmental impacts in view of the Government’s legally-binding commitment to end the UK’s contribution to total global greenhouse emissions by 2050.

It concluded that appraisal advice and decisions “can rely heavily on a Benefit:Cost Ratio that is unrelated to a compelling strategic case, in order to justify the project”.

While the BCR is a useful metric for capturing quantifiable costs and benefits, the report said that “there is a tendency to place an inappropriate emphasis on it”.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 919, published on December 2, and available digitally from November 28.

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