November 2022, Virtual
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
The government may sell its 40 per cent shareholding in train operator Eurostar as part of a disposal of state-owned assets.
Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, revealed that the government was looking to sell around £20 billion of financial and corporate assets in the next six years as part of a new £375 billion national infrastructure plan.
The plan sets out the government’s investment plans for energy, transport, flood defence, waste, water and communications infrastructure to 2030 and beyond.
The Treasury said that one of the plan’s aims was to “double the target for the sale of corporate and financial assets from £10 billion to £20 billion between 2014 and 2020, which could include the government’s shareholding in Eurostar”.
Eurostar, which started operating in 1994, is currently owned by the UK government’s London and Continental Railways (LCR), as well as the French rail firm SNCF (55 per cent) and Belgium’s SNCB (5 per cent).
Alexander also announced a range of new infrastructure projects which include spending a further £50 million on a full redevelopment of the railway station at Gatwick airport.
“Underground, overground, on shore, offshore, wired or wireless, tarmac or train track,” said Alexander. “You name it, we’re building it right now.
“This is great news for the people of the UK because after years of neglect, the UK’s energy, road, rail, flood defence, communications and water infrastructure needs renewal.
“It will boost the UK economy creating jobs and making it easier to do business. It will also make the UK a better place to live for everyone who calls it their home.”