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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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Heaton-Harris: fare payers should make “fair contribution”

Government recognises concerns regarding the planned fares rise in March, but has reiterated its belief that fare payers should make a “fair contribution” in the wake of the financial support the railway has received over the past ten months.

Responding to a Commons Written Question from Shadow Minister for Rail Tan Dhesi, who had asked what assessment had been made regarding the effect of increasing fares at the same time as trying to encourage people back on to trains, Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said on January 11: “We have carefully considered the needs of passengers and the cost of operating a safe railway before arriving at a decision.

“This will be the lowest increase in four years. We have also temporarily frozen fares, enabling passengers to purchase tickets at current prices, including annual season tickets during January and February.

“Taxpayers have been very generous in their support to keep trains running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognising the scale of taxpayer support, it is vital that farepayers make a fair contribution.

“Ultimately, a small rise is necessary to ensure we are fair to taxpayers and can sustain investment on maintaining services, to enable social distancing and support our economic recovery.”

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  • Judson Simzer - 24/01/2021 00:23

    I would not like to be a passenger rail worker at this time. How long will the government keep paying for an excess number of staff in comparison to demand for seats on trains? I won't be back on a passenger train until the government ends the masks on public transport law. I'm not paying for a ticket to spend my leisure time sitting on a train with a face mask on. I'd rather drive to wherever I want to go or stay at home and watch telly!

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